Visceral larva migrans (VLM) is a human infection with certain parasites found in the intestines of dogs and cats.
Parasite infection - visceral larva migrans; VLM; Toxocariasis; Ocular larva migrans; Larva migrans visceralis
VLM is caused by roundworms (parasites) that are found in the intestines of dogs and cats.
Eggs produced by these worms are in the feces of the infected animals. The feces mix with soil. Humans can get sick if they accidentally eat soil that has the eggs in it. This can happen by eating fruit or vegetables that were in contact with infected soil and were not washed thoroughly before eating. People can also become infected by eating raw liver from a chicken, lamb, or cow.
Young children with pica are at high risk for getting VLM. Pica is a disorder involving eating inedible things such as dirt and paint. Most infections in the United States occur in children who play in areas such as sandboxes, which contain soil contaminated by dog or cat feces.
After the worm eggs are swallowed, they break open in the intestine. The worms travel throughout the body to various organs, such as the lungs, liver, and eyes. They may also travel to the brain and heart.
Mild infections may not cause symptoms.
Serious infections may cause these symptoms:
If the eyes are infected, loss of vision and crossed eyes can occur.
This infection usually goes away on its own and may not require treatment. Some people with a moderate to severe infection need to take anti-parasitic drugs.
Mohammad Zibaei is in Karaj, Islamic Republic of Iran. Zibaei is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Visceral Larva Migrans. He is also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Toxocariasis, Creeping Eruption, Visceral Larva Migrans, and Secernentea Infections.
Herbert Auer is in Vienna, Austria. Auer is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Visceral Larva Migrans. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Alveolar Echinococcosis, Visceral Larva Migrans, Echinococcosis, and Hydatidosis.
Carlos Scaini is in Rio Grande, Brazil. Scaini is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Visceral Larva Migrans. He is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Toxocariasis, Visceral Larva Migrans, Creeping Eruption, and Secernentea Infections.
Severe infections involving the brain or heart can result in death, but this is rare.
These complications may occur from the infection:
Contact your provider if you develop any of these symptoms:
A full medical exam is needed to rule out VLM. Many conditions cause similar symptoms.
Prevention includes deworming dogs and cats and preventing them from defecating in public areas. Children should be kept away from areas where dogs and cats may defecate.
It is very important to wash your hands thoroughly after touching soil or after touching cats or dogs. Teach your children to wash their hands thoroughly after being outdoors or after touching cats or dogs.
DO NOT eat raw liver from a chicken, lamb, or cow.
There is no recent research available for this condition. Please check back because thousands of new papers are published every week and we strive to find and display the most recent relevant research as soon as it is available.
Published Date: December 24, 2020
Published By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Hotez PJ. Parasitic nematode infections. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 226.
Kim K, Weiss LM, Tanowitz HB. Parasitic infections. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 39.
Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Parasitic diseases. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 123.
Nash TE. Visceral larva migrans and other uncommon helminth infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 290.