The first photograph she sent us shows a light brown/orange specimen. We assume that since it came from her cheek, it can’t be more than a few inches long, but we have no real way of knowing how big or small this creature is. In this next photograph, we can see some zoomed-in parts of the creature:
The final photo shows the second worm our reader found. It looks very similar to the first, but it appears to be more yellow and less orange:
So, is our reader dealing with Baylisascaris procyonis? In short, we don’t know and we don’t have the expertise to diagnose our reader. Since we aren’t medical professionals, we aren’t able to give any sort of medical advice to our readers. We can talk a little about Baylisascaris procyonis, a.k.a. raccoon roundworm, but other than providing some information to our reader, we recommend that she see a doctor ASAP.
Baylisascaris worms are intestinal parasites that live in a wide variety of animals. Baylisascaris columnaris is found in skunks, while Baylisascaris procyonis is found in racoons. Baylisascaris are rarely reported in humans, but Baylisascaris procyonis are more likely to be found in humans because raccoons and humans often live in closer proximity than humans and skunks. People generally become infected when they ingest infectious eggs. Most often it is children who become infected after they come into contact with dirt or animal waste and touch their mouths without washing their hands. According to The Center For Disease Control and Prevention, the signs and symptoms in humans can include:
- Liver enlargement
- Loss of coordination
- Lack of attention to people and surroundings
- Loss of muscle control
We can’t comfortably (or legally) diagnose our reader, but we encourage her to see a doctor ASAP. Regardless of if she is experiencing symptoms or not, finding a worm in her cheek is rather alarming, so medical intervention is a good place to start! We wish our reader the best of luck.