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Loiasis
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Loiasis

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Contributors: Edith Lederman MD, Noah Craft MD, PhD
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Synopsis

Loiasis, also known as eye worm, is caused by the filarial parasite Loa loa. The disease is endemic to Central and West Africa, as well as the Sudan. The infection is transmitted to humans by the bite of blood-sucking flies of the genus Chrysops (deer fly, horse fly, mangrove fly). The clinical picture of loiasis differs between those individuals residing in endemic areas as compared to visitors to these areas. In visitors, infection is characterized by localized swellings and angioedema. These swellings are transient, lasting several hours to days. Pruritus or pricking sensations from adult worm migration, arthralgia, fatigue, and myalgias are common. Eye involvement can cause burning and irritation of the eye. In long-term residents of endemic areas, infection can be asymptomatic despite large numbers of microfilariae in the blood.

Complications can include meningitis, encephalitis, and glomerulonephritis.

Codes

ICD10CM:
B74.3 – Loiasis

SNOMEDCT:
44250009 – Loiasis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • In regions where onchocerciasis and loiasis are endemic, visitors can present with urticaria making differentiation between the two diagnoses difficult. Coinfection is not uncommon.
  • Cutaneous larva migrans does not cause eye findings, and the lesions are more superficial and distinct (serpiginous).
  • In Guinea worm infections, the large worm is easily palpable and often partially protruding from the skin.
  • Gnathostomiasis causes similar subcutaneous swellings, but this infection is found in Southeast Asia and Central / South America.

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References

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Last Updated: 08/10/2017
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Loiasis
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Loiasis : Eye burning, Eyelid edema, Myalgia, Ocular pruritus, Paresthesias, Pruritus, EOS increased, Transient swellings
Clinical image of Loiasis
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