“I have an infestation of some kind which really affects me,” states this reader from Phoenix Arizona. She asks for our help in identifying anything from the photos she sent in.
Firstly, we must preface this article by saying that none of the identifications we make here will be made with 100% certainty. Mostly, this is because the pictures are of quite a low resolution, so making out the organisms’ distinguishable characteristics is more difficult, but on top of that, our reader provides little to no context, which makes it more difficult to discern what these creatures could be.
Secondly, our reader does not specify what type of infestation she is experiencing (either of the home or of the body) and in what way it is affecting her. If the infestation is affecting her health and/or she thinks the organisms are infesting her body, then we urge her to seek medical consultation, specifically with a medical parasitologist, who specializes in this field. If this is the case, then what we can recommend is that our reader do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in her area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
4) Contact Dr. Vipul Savaliya of Infectious Disease Care (“IDCare”) at idcarepa.com.
Now, if the infestation is ongoing in her home and not in her body, then we have a few suggestions for what these could be. Almost all of the creatures look similar, except for the one black organism. When it comes to this outlier, we suppose this might be a leech, or perhaps some kind of flatworm, though it is difficult to tell because of the image quality. In any case, we recommend moving the creature outside using a dustpan and/or gardening gloves to avoid any potential harm.
Likewise, when it comes to the stringy, white organisms, we would suggest that this might be the webbing of a clothes moth larva, or perhaps the silken threads of a caterpillar’s cocoon. Again, the picture quality and lack of context makes it very difficult to say anything for certain.
To conclude, we are not sure what these creatures could be. The guesses above are merely that, guesses. Of course, if our reader has cause to believe that these creatures pose a threat to her health, then she should completely disregard these guesses and consult a medical parasitologist to get a professional’s opinion. Although we were not able to provide any concrete answers, we hope that this article helps nonetheless. We wish her the best!