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General Information -> Pets and humans
Are gordiids dangerous to humans and pets?
No. Gordiids do not use humans or any other vertebrate as hosts. So, they cannot infect humans or your pets. However, there have been reports of gordiids as pseudoparasites.
Pseudoparasitism is defined as a parasite
present in a host due to accidental circumstances.
This host organism is not a natural host and
usually the parasite does not thrive (and often does not survive for
periods) in this foreign environment. Most, if not all, cases reporting
‘‘infection’’ of humans with gordiids are instances of pseudoparasitism. For example, in a recent
case, a girl in
reports exist for worms
vomited by a domestic cat and by a domestic dog. Numerous
reports exist of patients passing worms per rectum and
urethra. In several instances, the infection of
urinary tract was reported. In one case, an adult male was admitted to
It is clear that the sole method of infection of humans by gordiids is through the ingestion of the adult form. This could occur through the ingestion of adults in untreated water, or through the ingestion of infected insect-definitive hosts. Several scientists have urged doctors to distinguish between pseudoparasitism from true helminthic infection. Misdiagnoses and ignorance of the benign nature of these worms has caused patients to undergo undue stress and financial burden of unnecessary regiments of antihelminthics.
reports exist of nematomorphs ‘‘contaminating’’
city water systems. These cases occurred in countries within a
spectrum of economic development, from
Gordiids are also frequently found in and around the home. Worms often appear in the bathroom, where standing water is typical; examples are toilets, showers, bathtubs and hot tubs. Often, the worms are carried by their insect-definitive hosts. In other cases, crickets are disposed of in the toilet after being killed, only to have the worms within the cricket wiggle back up the pipes. After subsequent use of the facility, by either adults or especially children, people can become unduly alarmed at the sight of undulating worms.
case, a man recently returned home to
Pet owners also have reported finding worms within their pet’s water dish, leading to unnecessary trips to the veterinarian.
Hairworm found in a pet's water dish after emerging from beetle host.
In addition, worms are often reported from temporary standing water in the yard or the driveways after heavy rains.
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© Copyright 2013 Ben Hanelt, Matt Bolek, and Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa
Updated: February 2014