Dirofilariasis In Humans - What Is It: Symptoms And Treatment

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Dirofilariasis In Humans - What Is It: Symptoms And Treatment
Dirofilariasis In Humans - What Is It: Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Dirofilariasis In Humans - What Is It: Symptoms And Treatment

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  • 1 What is dirofilariasis?
  • 2 Causes of dirofilariasis
  • 3 Symptoms and signs

    • 3.1 Ophthalmic dirofilariasis
    • 3.2 Cutaneous dirofilariasis
    • 3.3 Pulmonary dirofilariasis
  • 4 Treatment of dirofilariasis

The development of helminthiases is due to the parasitism of various worms. When infected with round parasites - dirofilariae, dirofilariasis occurs in humans. In most cases, the disease affects domestic animals - cats and dogs. Recently, parasitic pathology has been diagnosed more often in humans. This is based on human living with animals, as well as on the high percentage of helminth larvae in the environment. Let's look at the disease dirofilariasis, what it is, what forms are and ways of infection.

What is dirofilariasis?


Dirofilariasis is a helminthiasis caused by roundworms belonging to the genus Dirofilaria. Large worms, males can grow up to 30 centimeters long. The risk group includes people living near rivers and swamps, summer residents, tourists, people who work in forestry and fishing.

Common types of parasites:

  • Repens. This type of helminth leads to the development of skin pathology. Most often found in Europe. This is the only type of dirofilaria found in the Russian Federation;
  • Immitis. This type of parasite provokes visceral disease. Worms live in countries with hot climates.

The ultimate owners are dogs (more often) and cats (more rarely). In the blood of a sick animal, filariae are present, which do not pose a danger to humans or other animals. When an insect bites a sick animal, the transformation of the filaria into a dangerous larva is observed in its body.

The main carriers of the larvae include mosquitoes, bedbugs, horseflies, fleas, etc. After their bite, the larva enters the human circulatory system and begins to grow rapidly. But it does not change into a sexually mature individual, the reproduction process is not observed.

The incubation period after infection varies from a month to a couple of years, which significantly complicates the diagnostic process. Often, drug treatment is prescribed already at a severe stage of the pathological process.

Causes of dirofilariasis

the larva is transmitted by mosquito bites
the larva is transmitted by mosquito bites

A person can become infected through blood. The larva is transmitted by the bites of mosquitoes and other insects. The source of infection is primarily pets. According to statistics, more than 30% of domestic animals are infected. In rural areas, this percentage is even higher.

When dirofilariasis is diagnosed in a person, this implies the activity of parasites in the patient's body. They can be localized anywhere - heart, lungs, bronchi, large blood vessels.

The female excretes millions of filarial larvae, which have microscopic parameters. They spread throughout the body, begin "subversive" activities. The main causes of infection are as follows:

  1. Blood-sucking insect bite;
  2. During pregnancy, the larvae enter the fetal tissue.

Many patients are looking for photos of filariasis and dirofilaria photos. It is necessary to focus on the fact that filariasis is a group of diseases, and dirofilariasis is a specific disease that belongs to this category. Therefore, the "symptoms of filarias" in the body is a somewhat incorrect statement, since this is the name of a parasite, not a disease.

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Symptoms and signs

mosquito bites from blood-sucking insects
mosquito bites from blood-sucking insects

Mosquito bites from blood-sucking insects pose a certain danger. After the bite, the larva is under the skin or in the subcutaneous tissue for about three months. After it sheds, moves into the circulatory system, spreads throughout the body. Thus, the development of the worm in the human body occurs.

Symptoms of dirofilariasis are diverse, they are due to the primary localization of the larva and its subsequent migration. Diagnosis of dirofilariasis in humans at an early stage is associated with a number of difficulties, since during this period only the inflammatory process manifests itself, there are no other subjective sensations.

Also, signs of infection with dirofilariasis depend on the "end" point of the parasite - if the development of dirofilariasis larvae is observed in the lungs, then the clinic is associated with the respiratory system; when parasites have settled in the eyes, eye manifestations are revealed, etc.

Ophthalmic dirofilariasis

ocular dirofilariasis
ocular dirofilariasis

The manifestations of ocular dirofilariasis are associated with damage to the organs of vision. Most often, the worm settles in the conjunctiva or subcutaneous tissue of the eyelid. Somewhat less often, it affects the protein membrane or the vitreous body.

If the encapsulated parasite is located in the subcutaneous tissue on the eyelid, then in appearance it is similar to a boil or chalazion. This dirofilariasis in humans has symptoms (photo) of mild inflammation.

Patients often complain about the sensation of the worm movement under the skin. Descent of the lower eyelid is observed. Symptoms of general intoxication are also revealed. In most pictures, it manifests itself as a headache, weakness, nausea, and an increase in body temperature. The lymph nodes almost never increase, which makes it possible to distinguish the ocular form of the disease from the pathology of lymphatic filariasis.

Cutaneous dirofilariasis

cutaneous dirofilariasis
cutaneous dirofilariasis

The cutaneous form of dirofilariasis is characterized by the appearance of a tumor under the skin or mucous membrane. There is a characteristic itching on the affected area of ​​the body. The lump may be painful or not uncomfortable.

A characteristic feature is the movement of the parasite, which can be seen after some time. In 48 hours, the larva can move 20-30 centimeters. Often, people turn to the attending physician, in particular the surgeon, with a seal. Various diagnoses are assumed, but they can only be confirmed by surgery or ultrasound. This usually happens, often the doctor discovers an unexpected find during surgery.

Favorite places of dirofilaria:

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What causes a person to have worms?

  • Eyes;
  • Face;
  • Neck, torso;
  • Upper limbs;
  • Mammary gland;
  • Scrotum.

Subcutaneous dirofilariasis is accompanied by nonspecific symptoms. The patient complains of constant weakness, headaches, an increase in body temperature, pain in the affected area.

Pulmonary dirofilariasis

pulmonary dirofilariasis
pulmonary dirofilariasis

Manifestations of pulmonary dirofilariasis are accompanied by signs from the respiratory system. There are painful sensations in the sternum, an unproductive cough (more often), sometimes there is sputum with blood, shortness of breath, an increase in body temperature to subfebrile numbers, chills, general malaise. There is always a seal on the skin through which the parasite entered the body.

Dirofilariasis treatment

The primary diagnosis of a parasitic disease has certain difficulties. When referring to the attending physician, lipomas, fibromas, atheromas, benign tumors, lymphadenitis, etc. are suggested.

If the doctor does not prescribe an ultrasound scan, then a parasitic disease is detected only during the process of surgical intervention. But subcutaneous localization can be detected by ultrasound. Blood tests for dirofilariasis, including polymerase chain reaction - PCR, do not allow the detection of parasites in the biological fluid.

dirofilariasis treatment
dirofilariasis treatment

It happens that surgical intervention is difficult, since the parasite is actively moving, in this case, the drug Ditrazin is prescribed. The tool is produced in tablet form, it is prescribed by the course. Mode of application:

  1. For 1 kg of weight, the dosage is 2 mg.
  2. Duration of treatment is 10 days.

If the effect is insufficient, then a 10-day break is taken, and the drug is taken again. The tool is quite effective, it helps to destroy parasites, including microfilariae in the blood. An allergic reaction resulting from the death of the helminth is considered a significant disadvantage.

Then surgical removal is performed. The doctor dissects the area of ​​the skin over the inflammatory seal, takes out the worm. Subsequent administration of drugs is carried out on an outpatient basis.

Treatment of dirofilariasis in a person with a pulmonary form of the disease involves the procedure of thoracotomy - penetration through an incision in the chest. Then the inflamed node containing the worm is removed. After the operation, the patient is in the hospital under the constant supervision of doctors. Conservative treatment includes anti-inflammatory, antihistamine and sedative medications.

As a preventive measure, it is recommended to use personal protective equipment (sprays and creams for mosquitoes and other insects), protect pets from blood-sucking bites, and annually deworm pets.


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