A very interesting medical case report just came across my desktop, through the Improbable Research Blog. The case report, published July 18 in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, describes a 21-year-old male patient infected with baby parasitic worms. These baby worms never grow up, but they travel through the persons’ body and cause problems, the paper explains:Because humans are unsuitable hosts for larval helminths, the parasites, once entering, migrate without growing among the various organs, such as the liver, lungs, brain and eyes, leading to tissue damage and inflammation
The infection resulted in fatigue and what the describing doctors call “wordlessness” for more than a year. He also had lesions on his liver. It’s tough to diagnose these infections because the worms are so small.
One year before presentation, suffering from work and love problems, our patient had begun to complain of fatigue accompanied by wordlessness, low mood, occasional vomiting and anorexia. Subsequently, he had been diagnosed with depression disorder and had received antidepression therapy in his native hospital several times, but to little effect.
The twist: He picked up these nasty tagalongs by ingesting live earthworms and geckos at the behest of a “witch woman.” He picked up multiple parasites from these ingested animals. He went to the witch because the antidepressants weren’t working.
He turned to a native witch and ingested living earthworms and geckos for 10 days at her suggestion.
The doctors, led by Tao Yu of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital in China, treated him with anti-parasite medications. These parasites actually come from the soil on the animals, not the animals themselves, the paper said.
Surprisingly (or not) this isn’t the first report of a patient been infected with parasites by eating earthworms. A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2006 describes a similar infection of a 16-year-old girl after she ate an earthworm on a dare.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.