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Visceral Larva Migrans Treatment & Management

  • Author: Raymond D Pitetti, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
Updated: Nov 02, 2015

Medical Care

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  • Therapy in patients with visceral larva migrans (VLM) is aimed at relieving symptoms and is intended to diminish the host inflammatory response to the parasite. Corticosteroids and antihistamines are often used for this purpose. Patients with myocarditis or CNS disease should always be treated with corticosteroids.
  • Antiparasite agents, such as mebendazole, may help reduce symptoms; however, systemic treatment with anthelminthics can result in hypersensitivity reactions. Clinical trials have raised questions about their efficacy.
  • Attempt to identify the source of infection. Infected puppies and kittens should be treated with appropriate anthelminthic agents.


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  • Consider infectious diseases consultation in unusual or difficult cases.
  • Consider other consultations depending on the organ system involved.


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  • No special diet is necessary for acute treatment.
  • If children have a history of pica (eg, eating dirt, paint chips), attempts should be made to alter the behavior.


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  • No activity restrictions are required beyond that required for the treatment of the acute infection or its sequelae.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Raymond D Pitetti, MD, MPH Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Associate Division Chief, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Associate Medical Director, Emergency Department, Medical Director, Sedation Services, Medical Director, Express Care, Medical Director, Patient Safety, Consulting Staff, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and University of Pittsburgh Physicians

Raymond D Pitetti, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Medical Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Allegheny County Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Russell W Steele, MD Clinical Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine; Staff Physician, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

Russell W Steele, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Leslie L Barton, MD Professor Emerita of Pediatrics, University of Arizona College of Medicine

Leslie L Barton, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of Pediatric Program Directors, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Diagram of the Toxocara canis life cycle image. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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