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Epidemiology of Gnathostomiasis


            Cases of gnathostomiasis have been diagnosed in many countries in Southeast Asia, certain countries of South America, and parts of Mexico. In the United States, gnathostomiasis is quite uncommon with observed cases being due to travel or immigration. No formal estimate exists for the global incidence of gnathostomiasis. Because gnathostomiasis can bear similarities in its clinical symptoms to other parasites and diseases, it is likely commonly misdiagnosed. As for the ranges of species of Gnathostoma, only the endemic regions of G. spinigerum have been well documented. This is likely because of the 12 known species of Gnathostoma, only G. spinigerum was thought to cause human gnathostomiasis (a notion that has been proven false by clinical cases involving G. hispidum, G. nipponicum, and G. doloresi). Thailand, Japan, China, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, and Ecuador all have endemic G. spinigerum (Rusnak and Lucey 1993).

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