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Adv Biomed Res 2014,  3:263

Creeping eruption of the hand in an Iranian patient: Cutaneous larva migrans

1 Department of Dermatology, Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Student Reserch Committee (SRC), School of Medicine, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran
3 Department of Infectious Diseases, Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Submission30-Sep-2013
Date of Acceptance27-Oct-2013
Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Bahareh Abtahi-Naeini
Department of Dermatology, Al Zahra Hospital, Soffeh Blvd, Isfahan Univesity of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
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Source of Support: Department of Dermatology, Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran,, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2277-9175.148239

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Cutaneous larva migrans (CLM), a serpiginous cutaneous eruption is the most commonly acquired tropical dermatosis. It is caused by infection with hookworm larvae in tropical and sub-tropical areas, and people who have a history of travel in these countries. The most frequent location of CLM is the distal lower extremities or buttocks. We describe a case of 57-year-old Iranian female patient with CLM of hand (unusual site) without traveling to endemic countries that was successfully treated with oral albendazole. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of CLM in Iran.

Keywords: Creeping eruption, cutaneous larva migrans, Iran

How to cite this article:
Shahmoradi Z, Abtahi-Naeini B, Pourazizi M, Meidani M. Creeping eruption of the hand in an Iranian patient: Cutaneous larva migrans. Adv Biomed Res 2014;3:263

How to cite this URL:
Shahmoradi Z, Abtahi-Naeini B, Pourazizi M, Meidani M. Creeping eruption of the hand in an Iranian patient: Cutaneous larva migrans. Adv Biomed Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Jun 2];3:263. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Cutaneous larva migrans (CLM), also known as creeping eruption or sand worm is the most common tropically acquired dermatosis, first reported by Lee in 1874. [1] It is a serpiginous cutaneous eruption caused by the accidental penetration and migration of animal hookworm larvae through the epidermis. [2] Although CLM has a world-wide distribution, [3] it is most commonly seen in warm climates, such as the southeastern parts of the US, Central and South America, Africa and other tropical areas. [2] The most frequent location in the human body is the distal lower extremities or buttocks. [3] In Iran, it is a very rare infection. We report the case of a 57-year-old woman with CLM on an unusual site (finger) in Shoshtar, Iran. To the best of our knowledge this is the first reported case of CLM in Iran.

  Case report Top

This was a case report of a 57-year-old female agriculturist patient who was referred to our Department of Dermatological Diseases due to skin changes localized on her right hand. She lives in Shoshtar, Ahvaz, Iran. She revealed a 3 weeks history of intensely pruritic edematous, serpiginous tracts on her right hand. Small vesicles and hemorrhagic bullae had developed, gradually appearing a few days after the appearance of the first lesion [Figure 1]. The eruption had progressed daily, almost 0.5 cm, despite the application of antibacterial lotion to the eruption. The patient had been unable to sleep at night due to intense itching. She gave no history of fever, pulmonary or intestinal difficulties and her travel history to the endemic area was negative. Physical examination revealed serpiginous, erythematous raised tracts with bulla formation, findings that are clinically diagnostic of CLM. The remainder of her physical examination was within the normal limits. Laboratory analyses only revealed an elevated absolute eosinophil count. The skin biopsy showed that the cavities left by the parasite were located within the stratum corneum and associated with eosinophilic spongiosis. In the dermis, there was a mixed inflammatory infiltrate with numerous eosinophils  [Figure 2]. Treatment with oral albendazole 400 mg daily for 5 days was successful and symptoms including pruritus diminished within 48 h; the patient's lesions showed signs of healing, with areas of desquamation and hyperpigmentation 1 week after the initiation of treatment. No further relapses occurred during the 2 months follow-up  [Figure 3].
Cutaneous larva migrans. Characteristic serpiginous
erythematous tracks on the hand vesiculation and crusting are seen
(volar and dorsal view)

Click here to view
Cutaneous larva migrans. Histopathological fi ndings of which
showed severe eosinophilic spongiosis and cavities in upper layer of
epidermis that contain eosinophil infi ltration (H and E, ×10, ×40 [Insert])

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Cutaneous larva migrans. After 3 weeks - follow-up, linear
and serpiginous skin lesions which were treated with albendazole
400 mg/day for 5 days

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Hookworm-related CLM is a parasitic dermatosis caused by the penetration of larvae, mostly of a dog or cat hookworm, into the epidermis of human. [4] This eruption usually seen in tropical climates, although with the ease of travel to the tropics its incidence could well be increasing on return to the home countries, [5] but its presentation still remains uncommon in Iran. CLM is characterized by erythematous, serpiginous, pruritic, cutaneous eruption caused by percutaneous penetration and subsequent migration of the larvae of various nematode parasites. [2],[6] In most of the cases, a very intense itch develops shortly after skin penetration and is described as being very uncomfortable. Pain can also be present. [6] Each larva produces one tract and migrates at a rate of 1-2 cm/day. The most frequent location is the distal lower extremities or buttocks. Additional sites of involvement may include the hands and thighs. [3] The larvae rarely progress beyond the skin and systemic manifestations such as migratory pulmonary infiltrates and peripheral eosinophilia (Loeffler's syndrome) are rarely seen. The only common systemic finding is a moderate peripheral blood eosinophilia. Due to intense pruritus and scratching, superimposed bacterial infections may complicate the clinical picture. [2],[7] CLM is considered as a clinical diagnosis. [4] Although the diagnosis is usually made clinically, based on the characteristic lesions and history, biopsies are sometimes performed. It is unusual to see the parasite in biopsy specimens, but occasionally the larva can be identified within the epidermis. [2] The most common cause is Ancylostoma braziliense and less common species are Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala and Bunostomum phlebotomum. [3] CLM is usually a benign and self-limited disease and the prognosis is excellent. This is a self-limiting disease, but treatment is necessary because of possible complications and intense pruritus. Prior to the availability of antihelminthics, cryotherapy was used, but it was imprecise and only effective in perhaps half of all cases. [7],[8] Now-a-days this method is not recommended. Topical use of thiabendazole is suitable for early, localized lesions, whereas the systemic use of thiabendazole is preferred for the treatment of widespread lesions, but is limited due to a high incidence of adverse effects. More successful treatment includes the new antihelminthics, albendazole and ivermectin. [7],[8] Albendazole is a powerful antihelminthic against infections by intestinal nematodes and was first used to treat CLM in 1982. [9]

Although in a study of French tourists in 1993, a single 400-mg dose failed in 6 cases, [10] after that time many reports such as Kim et al., 2006; Bava et al., 2011; testify the efficacy of parenteral albendazole. [11],[12]

Veraldi, et al., 2012; described in a retrospective study on 78 patients, 1 week of therapy with 400 mg/day oral albendazole is very effective (cure rate: 100%) in patients with CLM characterized by multiple and/or extensive lesions. [13]

In our patient the diagnosis was based on typical clinical features because there was no history of fever, or pulmonary or intestinal difficulties, visceral involvement was excluded. She was treated with albendazole without any side effect and recurrence during the follow-up. To the best of our knowledge this is the first reported case of CLM in Iran. We conclude that sporadic cases of CLM should be kept in mind in differential diagnosis of any creeping lesion even in non-endemic countries.

  Acknowledgment Top

We wish to thank Prof. Parvin Rajabi (Dermatopathologist) for her expert opinion and guidance.

  References Top

Lee R. Case of creeping eruption. Trans Clin Soc Lond 1874;8:44-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Davies HD, Sakuls P Keystone JS. Creeping eruption. A review of clinical presentation and management of 60 cases presenting to a tropical disease unit. Arch Dermatol 1993; 129:528-529.  Back to cited text no. 2
Karthikeyan K, Thappa DM. Cutaneous larva migrans. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2002;68:252-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Heukelbach J, Feldmeier H. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of hookworm-related cutaneous larva migrans. Lancet Infect Dis 2008;8:302-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Blackwell V, Vega-Lopez F. Cutaneous larva migrans: Clinical features and management of 44 cases presenting in the returning traveller. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:434-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Brenner MA, Patel MB. Cutaneous larva migrans: The creeping eruption. Cutis 2003;72:111-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
Caumes E. Treatment of cutaneous larva migrans. Clin Infect Dis 2000;30:811-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
Van den Enden E, Stevens A, Van Gompel A. Treatment of cutaneous larva migrans. N Engl J Med 1998;339:1246-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
Coulaud JP, Binet D, Voyer C, Samson C, Moreau G, Rossignol JF. Treatment of the cutaneous larva migrans syndrome "Larbish" with albendazole. Apropos of 18 cases. Bull Soc Pathol Exot Filiales 1982;75:534-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Caumes E, Carriere J, Datry A, Gaxotte P, Danis M, Gentilini M. A randomized trial of ivermectin versus albendazole for the treatment of cutaneous larva migrans. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1993;49:641-4.  Back to cited text no. 10
Kim TH, Lee BS, Sohn WM. Three clinical cases of cutaneous larva migrans. Korean J Parasitol 2006;44:145-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Bava J, Gonzalez LG, Seley CM, López GP, Troncoso A. A case report of cutaneous larva migrans in Argentina. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2011;1:81-2.  Back to cited text no. 12
Veraldi S, Bottini S, Rizzitelli G, Persico MC. One-week therapy with oral albendazole in hookworm-related cutaneous larva migrans: A retrospective study on 78 patients. J Dermatolog Treat 2012;23:189-91.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

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