Cutaneous larva migrans

Skin | Dermatology | Cutaneous larva migrans (Disease)


A person with cutaneous larva migrans has a skin parasite that is most commonly acquired in the tropics. Cutaneous larva migrans causes an itchy, raised red rash that usually lasts for only a week with treatment. The most easy way of transmission is by exposure to the infected soil with the parasite.

Colloquially called creeping eruption due to the way it looks, the disease is also somewhat ambiguously known as ground itch or sandworms, as the larvae like to live in sandy soil.

The symptoms of cutaneous larva migrans include raised and snakelike tracks in the skin, itching, may be more severe at night, blisters.

Causes and Risk factors

Cutaneous larva migrans is a skin affection caused by a hookworm named Ancylostoma braziliense, a parasite that is present in cats and dogs. Its eggs are deposited on the ground with the feces of infected animals, develop into larvae, and invade the skin of people, particularly bare feet, although any skin may be involved. As they migrate through the epidermis, a trail of inflammation follows the burrow, causing severe pruritus.

Secondary infections often occur if the skin has been broken by scratching.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for cutaneous larva migrans includes the use of anti-parasitic drugs such as thiabendazole. Topical freezing agents, such as ethyl chloride or liquid nitrogen, applied locally can freeze and kill the larvae (but is often a hit-or-miss proposition). ...

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