“I have been trying to find someone to identify what type of worm this is”, states this reader in her submission regarding the segmented, brown creature pictured below. “It is possible that it was stuck to my clothes or even the toilet paper, but I found it when wiping. I went to the doctor and the ER and they couldn’t figure out what it was either. I searched the site and found some that look like it, but I’m not 100% sure since this one had markings and I couldn’t seem to find any with similar markings.” Based on the picture alone, we would have concluded that this is a duff millipede. These critters feed on decomposing organic matter such as fungi and algae, and are not harmful to humans. Typically, they live in tree bark or under nettles, but they have been known to invade people’s homes. Like most species of millipedes, they will do this if the conditions outside grow to warm and dry, which is why they typically seek shelter in basements or garages, where it is cool and dry.
With all of that said, it is strange that this duff millipede would end up in our reader’s clothing and on her toilet paper, but it is possible it got stuck to her clothing as she suggested. Perhaps it fell onto our reader when she was outside. However, our reader also mentions the possibility that this creature came from her, saying that she “found it when wiping”. If she thinks this creature came from her, she should disregard the identification made above. This is for two reasons: Firstly, duff millipedes do not infect people’s bodies: they are not parasites. Secondly, and most importantly, we are not qualified or legally able to identify organisms that come from or negatively affect people’s bodies. That is information only a medical professional can provide. And on that note, we recommend that our reader consult a medical professional if she is worried about her health because of the discovery of this organism.
Our reader did say that she already consulted her doctor and went to the ER, but we must note that most primary care doctors and ER doctors do not receive training in parasitology, so they are often not equipped to diagnose and treat parasitic infections. We recommend that she instead seek the advice of a medical parasitologist, as they specialize in this field. To find one, our reader can 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.
We should note that both Dr. Amin and Dr. Savaliya are available for online consultation, so our reader does not need to be in the vicinity of their physical offices to get help!
In conclusion, we can not make a conclusive statement about the identity of the creature our reader found. This is because there is a possibility that it came from her body. We recommend that she consult a medical parasitologist to find out if this is a parasite or not, or some other type of critter that could negatively affect her health. However, if she and her physician conclude that it is not a parasite, then we will say that we think it is a duff millipede. We hope this helps and we wish her the very best!