Volume 59, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Gnathostomiasis was first described in Mexico in 1970, and endemic areas have been spreading in six states of this country. In Culiacan, Sinaloa, 300 cases of cutaneous larva migrans were recorded between January 1992 and December 1995. In addition, a Gnathostoma larva was surgically removed from the eye of one patient. Cutaneous lesions were observed mainly on the face, neck, arms, and legs. About 70% of the patients showed eosinophilia. A skin biopsy was carried out on 35 patients and the parasite was identified in histopathologic sections of 12 of these patients. In four patients, the larva migrated out spontaneously from the skin. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using a crude somatic extract of adult Gnathostoma doloresi worms showed that 93% of the patients were seropositive, confirming the reliability of clinical diagnosis. A total of 14 advanced third-stage Gnathostoma larvae were found in four species of ichthyophagous birds captured on dams and dikes near the city of Culiacan. Scanning electron micrographs of human and bird larvae showed that they were morphologically indistinguishable from G. spinigerm. We conclude that the life cycle of Gnathostoma has been established in Sinaloa, and has become a serious public health issue for residents.


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