[Larva migrans].Sante. 1995 Nov-Dec; 5(6):341-5.S
Larbish, cutaneous larva migrans or creeping eruption, is a serpiginous cutaneous eruption caused by skin penetration of infective larva from various animal nematodes. Hookworms (Ancylostoma brasiliense, A. caninum) are the most common causative parasites. They live in the intestines of dogs and cats where their ova are deposited in the animal feces. In sandy and shady soil, when temperature and moisture are elevated, the ova hatch and mature into infective larva. Infection occurs when humans have contact with the infected soil. Infective larva penetrate the exposed skin of the body, commonly around the feet, hands and buttocks. In humans, the larva are not able to complete their natural cycle and remain trapped in the upper dermis of the skin. The disease is widespread in tropical or subtropical regions, especially along the coast on sandy beaches. The diagnosis is easy for the patient who is returning from a tropical or subtropical climate and gives a history of beach exposure. The characteristic skin lesion is a fissure or erythematous cord which is displaced a few millimeters each day in a serpiginous track. Scabies, the larva currens syndrome due to Strongyloides stercoralis, must be distinguished from other creeping eruptions and subcutaneous swelling lesions caused by other nematodes or myiasis. Medical treatments are justified because it shortens the duration of the natural evolution of the disease. Topical tiabendazole is safe for localized invasions, but prolonged treatment may be necessary. Oral thiabendazole treatment for three days is effective, but sometimes is associated with adverse effects. Trials using albendazole for one or four consecutive days appear more efficacious. More recent trials using ivermectine showed that a single oral dose can cure 100% of the patients; thus, this drug looks very promising as a new form of therapy. Individual prophylaxis consists of avoiding skin contact with soil which has been contaminated with dog or cat feces. Keeping dogs and cats off the beaches is illusory in tropical countries.