Worm identification

Kimo Morris morrisk at bcc.orst.edu
Tue Dec 3 18:36:47 EST 1996


Hello Brett,

In your recent post, you mentioned cases of adult Nematomorphs passing 
in human urine.  I've never heard of such a thing, and am curious to 
find some documentation on this peculiar phenomenon.  All the literature 
I have on Nematomorphs demonstrate an obligatory association with 
insects as intermediate hosts for the protandrous worms.  I know some 
times, an inappropriate insect or molluscan host can ingest the 
infective worm stages, but these are quickly passed and remain 
infective.  Granted, this is an obscure group of worms, but I have never 
come across any literature that suggests vertebrates can serve as 
potential intermediate hosts.  If you know of some literature, please 
let me know.

If I were asked to I.D. those worms without seeing them, I would 
probably bet they were Nematodes, not Nematomorphs.  If I had to guess, 
I would first look in the Order Dioctophymatida.  There are some 
examples of renal nematodes in this group.  For instance, *Dioctophyma 
renale* can range in size from 10-40cm for males and 20-100 for female 
worms (within the male range that Brent described), and they are reddish 
worms that are found in the kidneys of mammals that eat raw fish.  Brent 
mentioned raw beef -- uhh, I don't know what to make of that.  
Incidentally, *D. renale* is found in mammals within the United States 
and the Orient, but are zoonotic for humans.  I would be interested to 
hear of any follow-up to this case.

- Kimo

Brett Pickering wrote:
> 
> Brent Dixon wrote:
> >
> > I had a call yesterday from a man who claims to have passed two large,
> > active worms in his urine stream.  He described them as 10cm long and
> > 2-3mm in diameter, red, with small hooks.
> > he has eaten recently was some undercooked ground beef.
> 
> Can you describe the hooks further (size in proportion to the rest of
> the worm and location).  If they were simply a bifurcation or
> trifurcation of the posterior end of the worm, then they are horsehair
> worms.  They are from the Phylum Nematomorpha, and there have been cases
> of them passing in urine (although it is very rare and some cases maybe
> spurious).  If you get more specimens I would be happy to identify them
> for you.
> 
> Brett Pickering
> University of New Mexico

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