First record of human acanthocephalan infections in Australia.
Two cases of asymptomatic acanthocephalan infections in infants are described. Case 1, was that of an 18-month-old girl from the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, who passed 3 worms over the 3 weeks before March 8, 1983. The worms were identified as immature male Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus. The girl was treated with niclosamide, after which she passed no more worms and no helminth eggs were detected in her faeces. The girls parents recalled that occasionally she had eaten beetles. Case 2, concerned a 13-month-old boy who passed a large worm in a pasty stool on January 10, 1989. Two months previously he had been treated with pyrantel. The child on several occasions had been observed ingesting insects, including cockroaches. The worm was identified as Moniliformis sp. His haemoglobin level was found to be 97 g/L (normal range, 105-145 g/L) and his white-cell count was 4.6 × 109/L (normal, 3.0-10 × 109/L) with 2% eosinophils. Helminth eggs were not found in his faeces by microscopy. Four weeks later, his haemoglobin level was 130 g/L and his white-cell count wasd 4.6 × 109/L, with 2% eosinophils. He received 100 mg of mebendazole on 2 consecutive days. All faeces passed over the next 4 days were collected for macroscopic and microscopic examination, but neither worms nor eggs were found. This is believed to be the first report from Australia of infection with these parasites in humans. Their clinical, epidemiological and biological significance is further discussed.<new para>ADDITIONAL ABSTRACT:<new para>Details are given of 2 cases, in Australia, of locally acquired asymptomatic infections with acanthocephalans. One patient was an 18-month-old girl, known to have eaten beetles, who passed 5 worms, 1 identified as Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus; the other was a 13-month-old boy, who had been observed eating various insects including cockroaches, and who passed 1 worm, possibly Moniliformis moniliformis. The clinical, epidemiological and biological significance of the cases is discussed.newline˜Sheila M. Crewe