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Helminthic Infections at a Glance
  • Helminthic infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in tropical and developing countries.
  • The majority of infected individuals have a low worm burden and are asymptomatic.
  • Dermatologic symptoms and cutaneous findings may be associated or presenting features of helminthic infections.
  • Dermatologic manifestations may differ in returning travelers and in immigrants from endemic areas.
  • Migratory lesions, subcutaneous masses, papular eruptions, urticaria, and pruritus are the most common presenting dermatologic 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 three groups: (1) nematodes (roundworms), (2) trematodes (flukes), and (3) cestodes (tapeworms) (Table 207-1); trematodes and cestodes are collectively referred to as platyhelminths (flatworms). This chapter focuses only on those helminths that more commonly cause dermatologic disease.

Table 207-1 Helminths Causing Infection in Humans

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