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AT-A-GLANCE

AT-A-GLANCE

  • Helminthic infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in tropical and developing countries.

  • The majority of infected individuals has a low worm burden and is asymptomatic.

  • Dermatologic symptoms and cutaneous findings may be associated with or present features of many helminthic infections.

  • Returned travelers and immigrants from endemic areas may differ in the dermatologic manifestations of helminthic infection.

  • Migratory lesions, subcutaneous masses, papular eruptions, urticaria, and pruritus are the most common presenting symptoms of helminthic infections.

  • Cutaneous larva migrans is the most common helminthic dermatosis identified.

  • Recognition of skin findings or helminthic infections and an appropriate epidemiologic history can guide appropriate investigations and effective therapy.

Helminths (worms) are variably sized multicellular parasites that can infect a wide range of mammals, including humans. Those causing human disease belong to 3 groups: nematodes (roundworms), trematodes (flukes), and cestodes (tapeworms); trematodes and cestodes are collectively referred to as platyhelminths (flatworms). A variety of helminths can infect humans and cause cutaneous findings (Table 177-1).1,2 This chapter focuses on those helminths that are notable for causing dermatologic disease.

TABLE 177-1Helminths Causing Cutaneous Disease: Common Dermatologic Findings

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