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Eating Centipedes Can Result in Angiostrongylus cantonensis Infection: Two Case Reports and Pathogen Investigation

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  • 1 Department of Pathogen Biology and Experimental Teaching Centre of Preventive Medicine, Key Laboratory of Prevention and Control for Emerging Infectious Diseases of Guangdong Higher Institutes, Key Laboratory for Tropical Disease Research of Guangdong Province, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China;
  • 2 Department of Neurology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China;
  • 3 Department of Radiology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China

Angiostrongyliasis is a food-borne parasitic disease caused by the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis that can lead to eosinophilic meningitis (EM) or meningoencephalitis in humans. Angiostrongylus cantonensis is prevalent in the Pacific Islands. In recent years, a large number of outbreaks and severe cases have occurred. Several species of mollusk, such as snails and slugs, act as intermediate and paratenic hosts of A. cantonensis. In this study, two cases of EM were found to have been caused by infection with A. cantonensis due to consumption of raw centipedes. To survey the A. cantonensis infections acquired through centipedes that the patients had bought at a vegetable market, we performed etiological examinations and polymerase chain reaction amplification of A. cantonensis genes. Third-instar larvae of A. cantonensis were detected in the centipedes, and specific genes from A. cantonensis were detected in all the specimens. This indicates that the centipede may act as a competent host for the transmission of A. cantonensis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of A. cantonensis infection through the consumption of centipedes.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Hua Li, Department of Pathogen Biology and Experimental Teaching Centre of Preventive Medicine, Key Laboratory of Prevention and Control for Emerging Infectious Diseases of Guangdong Higher Institutes, Key Laboratory for Tropical Disease Research of Guangdong Province, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China. E-mail: lih@smu.edu.cn

Financial support: This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81471980 and No. 30972577) and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (No. 2014A030313318), and the research was funded by the Studying Abroad Project of Southern Medical University.

Authors’ addresses: Huijie Wang, Dan She, Zexun Mo, Jun Li, and Hua Li, Department of Pathogen Biology and Experimental Teaching Centre of Preventive Medicine, Key Laboratory of Prevention and Control for Emerging Infectious Diseases of Guangdong Higher Institutes, Key Laboratory for Tropical Disease Research of Guangdong Province, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, E-mails: mary890119k@gmail.com, danshe0928@163.com, mozexun427@163.com, 307510681@qq.com, and lih@smu.edu.cn. Lingli Lu, Department of Neurology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, E-mail: lulingli2005@126.com. Zhibo Wen, Department of Radiology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, E-mail: zhibowen@163.com.

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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