Article

The worm that turned

Department of General Medicine, Christchurch Hospital, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Impact Factor: 1.93). 07/2009; 103(10):1065-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2009.05.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT When a patient presents with acute myelopathy in the developed world, helminthic infection is not routinely considered in the differential diagnosis. We report the case of a 34-year-old South African male who presented with acute urinary retention and lower leg paraesthesiae. Subsequently, myeloradiculopathy secondary to Schistosoma mansoni was diagnosed on the basis of typical magnetic resonance imaging changes in the conus medullaris and positive stool microscopy. Prior to this presentation the patient had lived in urban western South Africa and more recently in New Zealand, without exposure to infected water for 22 years. His symptoms and signs resolved following treatment with praziquantel and methylprednisolone. Spinal schistosomiasis is a rare but serious cause of myelopathy and should be considered in any patient who has ever visited or lived in an endemic area.

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