Man’s ‘shifting’ rash brought on by worms crawling beneath his pores and skin

A rash that appeared to maneuver throughout a person’s whole physique was attributable to worms crawling beneath his skin, in accordance with a brand new report.

The 64-year-old man, who lives in Spain, had been beforehand recognized with metastatic lung cancer and wanted to be hospitalized as a result of the most cancers had unfold to his backbone and was urgent on his spinal wire, in accordance with the report, printed April 21 in The New England Journal of Medicine. Whereas within the hospital, medical doctors gave him a excessive dose of glucocorticoids, a category of steroids that combat inflammation and are generally utilized in most cancers sufferers to assist with negative effects of chemotherapy and to assist within the remedy of sure cancers.

4 days after receiving the glucocorticoids, the person developed a rash within the type of crimson, wavy traces throughout his physique, together with delicate diarrhea, in accordance with the authors, from Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre in Madrid, Spain. 

Associated: 8 awful parasite infections that will make your skin crawl

The lesions originated across the anus and had “unfold quickly to the trunk and limbs,” in accordance with the report. Medical doctors outlined a few of the lesions with a pen, and 24 hours later, they noticed one thing disturbing: The lesions had migrated from their authentic places. In different phrases, one thing was crawling beneath his pores and skin.

The person’s stool examined optimistic for a kind of roundworm referred to as Strongyloides stercoralis. This roundworm is discovered worldwide, however is most typical within the tropics, subtropics and in heat temperate areas, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

S. stercoralis larvae dwell in soil, and so folks often grow to be contaminated via contact with contaminated soil, however they’ll additionally grow to be contaminated via contact with human waste or sewage, in accordance with the CDC. It is unclear how the person turned contaminated, however he labored in sewage administration, the report stated.

When the larvae are available in contact with human pores and skin, they’ll penetrate the pores and skin and migrate via the physique to the small gut, “the place they burrow and lay their eggs,” according to the CDC.

The eggs hatch contained in the gut, and many of the larvae are excreted in stool, however some can reinfect a number via a course of often called “autoinfection.” This occurs when the hatched larvae both burrow into the intestinal wall or penetrate the pores and skin across the anus, in accordance with the CDC. The latter seems to have occurred within the man’s case.

Most individuals contaminated with S. stercoralis do not develop signs, although some could develop non-specific signs reminiscent of belly ache, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, in addition to a rash the place the worm entered the pores and skin, according to the CDC. However the an infection could be life-threatening in individuals who take steroid drugs, which suppress the immune system.


The person’s remedy with glucocorticoids predisposed him to this severe type of the an infection, often called “strongyloides hyperinfection syndrome.” On this type, the worm’s life cycle is accelerated, resulting in a a lot greater variety of worms within the physique than in a daily case, in accordance with a 2011 paper printed within the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

The hyperinfection syndrome may also result in the unfold of the worms to lungs, liver, mind, coronary heart and urinary tract; and may result in dying in as much as 80% of instances as a result of the prognosis usually is delayed, according to Medscape.

Luckily, the person obtained immediate remedy with the ant-parastic drug ivermectin, and his rash and diarrhea abated, the report stated.

Initially printed on Reside Science.


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