ISSN 2398-2942      

Linguatula serrata

icanis

Synonym(s): L. serrata, Tongue worm


Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Phylum: Pentastomida
  • Class: Maxillopoda
  • Subclass: Pentastomida
  • Order: Porocephalida
  • Superfamily: Linguatulidae
  • Genus: Linguatula
  • Species: serrata

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Adults in the nasal passages, frontal sinuses and naso-pharynx of definitive hosts.
  • Encysted larvae in mesenteric lymph nodes, lungs and liver.
  • Eggs in nasal secretions, feces and wet environment.

Lifecycle

  • Adult.
  • Egg (embryonated).
  • 1st instar larvae.
  • Numerous further instars as moults.

Transmission

  • Feco-oral passage, or passage through nasal secretions and ingestion of egg.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked viscera.

Pathological effects

  • Visceral infection in intermediate hosts, including humans, rarely produce clinical signs. Larval stages are often found on the omentum, mesentery and surface of many organs. Granulomas may form in the mesenteric lymph nodes and liver but rarely lead to clinical hepatopathies. The most severe pathology occurs when aberrant migration leads larvae to reside in the anterior chamber of the eye and pleura. One case of pleural pneumonia has been recorded in a human patient and four ocular cases.
  • Adult worms attach to the nasal or pharyngeal mucosa. This can lead to local inflammation but a generalized allergic naso-pharyngitis can also develop leading to congestion and edema of the buccopharyngeal mucosa.
  • Clinical signs from adult infection include sneezing, epistaxis, cough and less commonly dyspnea from naso-pharyngitis.

Other Host Effects

  • Adults feed on blood and mucous secretions.

Control

Control via animal

  • Anthelmintic treatment Worm control Therapeutics: parasiticide.
  • Physical removal of adults from the nasopharynx via endoscopy/surgery.
  • Preventing consumption of raw or undercooked viscera.
  • Screening of dogs with relevant clinical signs that have been imported from high prevalence countries.
  • Good hand hygiene around infected cats and dogs.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Milbemycin oxime Milbemycin oxime has been used to treat clinical infection in Romania with at least one case report demonstrating expulsion of the parasite after treatment.
  • Ivermectin Ivermectin has been used in one instance to successfully treat the closely related Linguatula artica in a reindeer.

Control via environment

  • Eggs on concrete susceptible to desiccation (dry heat and sunlight).
  • Drainage of land in endemic countries where marshland, ditches and standing water sources may provide ideal environments for egg survival.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gjerde B (2013) Phylogenetic position of Linguatula arctica and Linguatula serrata (Pentastomida) as inferred from the nuclear 18S rRNA gene and the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene. Parasitology Research 112 (10), 3517-3525 PubMed.
  • Koehsler M, Walochnik J, Georgopoulos M et al (2011) Linguatula serrata tongue worm in human eye, Austria. Emerging Infectious Diseases 17 (5), 870-872 PubMed.
  • Pal SS, Bhargava M, Kumar A et al (2011) An unusual intraocular tongue worm in anterior chamber: a case report. Ocular Immunology and Inflammation 19 (6), 442-443 PubMed.
  • Esmaeilzadeh S, Mohammadian B & Rezaei A (2008) Linguatula serrata nymph in a cat. Iranian Journal of Veterinary Research (4), 387-389, 398 VetMedResource.
  • Haugerud R E, Nilssen A C & Rognmo A (1993) On the efficacy of ivermectin against the reindeer sinus worm Linguatula arctica (Pentastomida), with a review on ivermectin treatment in reindeer. Rangifer 13 (3), 157-162 VetMedResource.

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