Management and Therapy

Linguatulosis is rare, and in most human cases goes undetected. Of the human cases that occur, linguatulosis most often manifests as its visceral form (ocular form is extremely rare). In these instances therapy includes inducing sneezing to force worms out of nasal passages, or mechanical withdrawal. The remaining worms eventually die and calcify to form a nodule, or develop into abscesses (Mehlhorn, 2004).

Ocular Linguatulosis
A case study of a woman in Ecuador with ocular linguatulosis reports that she was treated with prednisone acetate and atropine sulfate to reduce ocular inflammation signs (Figure 6). Upon confirmation that a parasitic species was causing the disease, the parasite was surgically removed and diagnosed as a larval form of Linguatula serrata (Lazo et al., 1999).

Public Health and Prevention Strategies
Because linguatulosis is a rare disease in humans, formal public health measures (e.g., vaccines or treatment distribution programs) have not been instantiated to prevent it. However, linguatulosis can be prevented by avoiding contact with dogs (and other reservoir species) in regions where linguatulids are present (i.e., the tropics; Mehlhorn, 2004).


Figure 6. Photograph of ocular linguatulosis. The arrow shows the Linguatula serrata larva (Lazo et al., 1999).

Scott Ritter © 2006