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Pediatric Cutaneous Larva Migrans Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Martha L Muller, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
 
Updated: Oct 07, 2015
 

History

The patient with cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) may recall a stinging sensation upon initial penetration of the larvae.

An erythematous papule or a nonspecific dermatitis can develop hours after penetration.

The most common location for penetration is the feet (39%), from walking barefoot in the sand, followed by the buttocks (18%) and the abdomen (16%).

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Physical

The migration of the larvae produces a 2-mm to 4-mm wide, erythematous, elevated, vesicular serpiginous track. Vesiculobullous and papular lesions may be observed in association with the linear track.

Migration of the larvae through the skin occurs from a week to several months after initial penetration, depending on the type of roundworm. The rate of larval migration is from 2 mm to 2 cm per day, depending on the species of larva. Unlike in animals, the larvae are unable to penetrate the epidermal basement membrane of human skin; therefore, the larvae roam haphazardly in the epidermis and are unable to complete their life cycle.

An allergic immune response of the patient to the larvae or byproducts causes the pruritic erythematous track. The actual location of the larvae is usually 1-2 cm beyond the erythematous track.

Untreated lesions resolve after the larvae die (ie, within weeks to months).

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Causes

The most common cause of CLM is Ancylostoma braziliense, which is a dog and cat hookworm found in the United States, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.[11]

Other reported, less common, animal roundworms that cause CLM include the following:

  • Ancylostoma tubaeforme, Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma ceylanicum, and Uncinaria stenocephala (ie, dog hookworms)
  • Bunostomum phlebotomum (ie, cattle hookworm)
  • Gnathostoma species (ie, cat, dog, and pig roundworms)
  • Capillaria species (ie, whipworms found in rodents, cats, dogs, and poultry)
  • Strongyloides myopotami, Strongyloides papillosus, and Strongyloides westeri (found in the small intestine of mammals)
  • Nematodes that use a human as a definitive host, such as Ancylostoma duodenale, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Necator americanus (rare causes of CLM): A duodenale and N americanus usually cause ground itch. S stercoralis is usually associated with larva currens.

CLM should not be confused with visceral larva migrans and ocular larva migrans, which are due to the ingestion of the eggs of the parasite Toxocara canis or Toxocara cati. Children with pica or people eating unwashed raw vegetables have the greatest risk of acquiring visceral and ocular larva migrans.

The following individuals are at risk of infection with CLM:

  • Sunbathers
  • Fishermen
  • Hunters
  • Gardeners
  • Construction workers
  • Pest exterminators
  • Children
  • Anyone with skin contact to sand or soil in warm areas
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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Martha L Muller, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

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.

Martin Weisse, MD Program Director, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University

Martin Weisse, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

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.

Additional Contributors

Michael D Nissen, MBBS FRACP, FRCPA, Associate Professor in Biomolecular, Biomedical Science & Health, Griffith University; Director of Infectious Diseases and Unit Head of Queensland Paediatric Infectious Laboratory, Sir Albert Sakzewski Viral Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital

Michael D Nissen, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, American Society for Microbiology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Jining Wang, MD Department of Dermatology, Dean Health System

Jining Wang, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha and American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kim Wang, MD Staff Physician, Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School

Kim Wang, MD is a member of the following medical societies: United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Cutaneous larva migrans involving the foot with erythematous, edematous, serpiginous tracks. Infestation has caused a cellulitis.
Cutaneous larva migrans involving the dorsal foot. Graphic courtesy of Dr Sara K. Ward.
 
 
 
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