Introduction to Linguatulosis

Linguatulosis (linguatuliasis) is a rare parasitic disease caused by invasion of the body by wormlike parasites of the genus Linguatula, also known as Tongue Worms (John and Petri, 2006). It is often contracted by ingesting infected food and may manifest as nasopharyngeal, visceral, or ocular forms (Siavashi, 2002; Lazo et al., 1999).

Common agent
The most common agent of linguatulosis is Linguatula serrata (Figure 1), which commonly resides within the nasal passages of canines and felines, burrows into nasal lining, and consumes blood, causing bleeding, catarrh, and obstruction of nasal passages. Linguatula serrata has been reported in the tropical regions of North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia (Cheng, 1986; Riley, 1985).

Management
Upon diagnosis of linguatulids in nasopharyngeal passages or eggs in nasal mucus, treatment involves removal of the worms, either mechanically or through induced sneezing. The remaining worms eventually die, and because linguatulosis is rare, no formal public health programs exist for preventing it (Siavashi, 2002; Mahlhorn, 2004).

linguatula serrata

Figure 1. Linguatula serrata (Reference).

Scott Ritter © 2006