Parasite in woman’s eye x2 years from crocodile meat

Martin Nowak

Mar 23, 2018
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Trussville, AL
Parasite in woman’s eye x2 years from crocodile meat

I have previously posted on this Forum a case of carpet python parasite found in a woman’s brain (10/17/2023) and multiple cases of Salmonella from a group of imported bearded dragons (1/29/2024).

Here a 2024 report of the parasite Armillifer grandis in a woman’s eye for some 2 years. The case is from Basankusu, DRC. The parasite uses snakes as the intermediate host. In particular it is found in pythons and large vipers such as Bitis species, and also in other snake species. The authors indicate some infections may come from infected rodents, and from domestic dogs and cats which may carry and shed parasite eggs from feet, fur, and feces. In this case, the woman likely was infected by eating undercooked crocodile meat.

“Humans can inadvertently pick up A. grandis by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with its eggs, or by having close contact with infected snakes, the case report authors wrote.”

"People are typically diagnosed through a visual examination of their tissues and the parasites themselves. Ways to prevent the infection include following hygiene measures, such as wearing gloves and washing hands when in contact with reptiles, as well as avoiding eating undercooked reptile meat."

The parasite has been identified in snakes in meat markets in the DRC. A 2017 study revealed that 97% of vipers and 81% of pythons in the meat market contained the parasite. This report indicates the parasite is an “emerging zoonotic threat”. “Infective parasite ova likely transmit to humans directly by consumption of uncooked meat, or indirectly through contaminated hands, kitchen tools or washing water.”

Of interest is that this parasite must be surgically removed. Leaving the dead carcass of the parasite in human tissue causes other serious complications.

Potential ramifications are obvious for reptile keepers, particularly related to imported wild caught and farm bred snakes. It is not a stretch to consider other imported species of snakes would carry the parasite. The parasite is known from other parts of Africa, the DCR seems to be an area of greater incidence of infections. Awareness and appropriate sanitary cautions when maintaining and handling imported specimens, along with de-parasitizing such animals is advised.
I remember reading years ago about parasitic Pentastomids being carried by eastern indigo snakes. Gave me the willies thinking about it.

If you ever want to read something to keep you laying awake at night, read about the various zoonotic organisms that you can become exposed to. I have such a book but could not finish it. Matter of fact, I don't think I got through more than the first dozen or so pages.
Most large living organisms.....Carry parasitic payloads....Beware what you touch....Especially what you eat....