Intestinal Capillariasis

Capillaria Philippinensis

Introduction: Intestinal Capillariasis, which is a parasitic infection endemic to the Philippines and parts of Thailand, is caused by the appropriately named roundworm Capillaria philippinensis. Although the first recorded cases of Intestinal Capillariasis did not surface until 1963, the disease rapidly assumed epidemic proportions, requiring public health intervention and the involvement of the CDC. Intestinal Capillariasis is transmitted to humans upon ingestion of inadequately cooked or raw C. philippinensis-bearing fresh- or brackish-water fish. While Capillaria philippinensis infection is frequently asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, heavy infections can produce severe and even fatal consequences.

The taxonomic classification of C. philippinensis is as follows:

Phylum: Nematoda
Class: Aphasmida
Order: Trichurida
Genus: Capillaria

Species: Philippinensis


*Two other species of Capillaria are worth mentioning: C. hepatica and C. aerophila (which cause hepatic capillariasis and pulmonary capillariasis, respectively). These infections are primarily zoonotic, as fewer than 50 cases have been reported in humans worldwide. Accordingly, C. hepatica and C. aerophila will not be discussed at length on this site.



Photos on this page courtesy of (from left to right): 94/94me_4001.asp body_Capillariasis_il_th.htm nematode/capadf.htm