history & epidemiology

C. philippinensis is also known as ‘Pudoc worm’ in the Philippines, where it is endemic.
This alias is based on the name of the location where the disease and the associated worm were first discovered in 1963.

Figure 3: endemic region


discovery of disease

In 1962, a healthy young man from Luzon, Philippines rapidly fell ill, suffering from the key clinical symptoms that we now recognize as indicative of parasitic Capillaria infection.  Postmortem examination revealed a large number of C. Philippinensis worms in the large and small intestines.  He was the first documented casualty of human intestinal capillariasis.

history of epidemics

During the years 1967-1968, an epidemic in the Philippines involved at least 1300 infected individuals, 90 of whom died.

Another brief epidemic, beginning in late 1978 and ending in early 1979, involved about 50 infected individuals, also took place .

Sporadic cases have continued to appear in northern Luzon as well as in other areas where epidemics have occurred.

geography of infections

Capillaria spp. are most commonly found in the Philippines but cases have also been documented in

South of Taiwan (Kaoh-Siung),
Spain, and


Human intestinal capillariasis is rare.  The CDC reports only 1500 documented cases of intestinal capillariasis since 1963, with a 10% case-fatality rate.

Hepatic and pulmonary capillariasis in humans are extremely rare, with a maximum of 50 cases documented worldwide.
Humans contract these infections by ingesting soil that has been infected by the infected feces of animals harboring the parasite.
The disease is most common in children having a history of pica.

introduction    biological agent    life cycle & transmission   clinical presentation    diagnosis    treatment & prevention