“Can you please identify what type of worm creature/larvae this is?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the long, stringy, worm-like organism pictured below. “I live in Daytona Beach, Florida. I also live in the suburbs and have a well, not local city water. I had washed some towels in baking soda & vinegar, as my husband had changed the tub faucet earlier that day. When I went to take the towels out of the washing machine, this creature was sitting on top of the inside top part of the washing machine. I believe it could be a whipworm, but am having a difficult time 100% confirming this. If you could please help identify this, we would appreciate it. Thank you! One paranoid wife.”
To start with, we agree that this does resemble a whipworm. Typically, we would not admit this, as whipworms are intestinal parasites that can infect humans. Only a medical professional is qualified and legally able to identify parasites, as they have the capacity to negatively affect the health of people and pets. With that said,, since the worm was found inside the washing machine, and our reader gives no indication that it is harming her or her husband, then we feel it is okay to point out that similarity. What we still cannot do is suggest that this actually is a whipworm. If our reader has cause to believe this is a whipworm, or that the presence of the worm could harm her or her husband, then we suggest consulting a medical professional.
To find a medical parasitologist or other health care provider who can actually help, our reader can do one or more of the following:
– Visit our parasite care resources page here: https://www.allaboutworms.com/get-medical-attention-and-tests-for-parasites
– Search for a medical parasitologist in Daytona Beach using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
– Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist Daytona Beach” or “tropical medicine specialist Daytona Beach”.
Likewise, since our reader implies that these worms could have come from the well, it is possible that their presence in the water could be harmful to our reader and anyone else who uses water from that well, regardless if they are parasites. But especially if they are parasites, as parasitic infections are typically contracted through the ingestion of eggs, so if there are eggs in the water, who knows how much damage could be caused. To have her well inspected, she can consult the CDC’s “page on well maintenance“, which provides resources for getting a maintenance check.
To conclude, we think this worm needs a medical professional’s opinion, given our reader’s concerns about whipworms. We also want to note that, even if it were not for our reader suggesting that this could be a whipworm, we have never seen organisms that look quite like this one, so we would be at a loss for what this could be. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader the very best!
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