“Can you identify this please?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the minuscule, black, twisted-looking organism pictured below. “This was coughed up”, she explains, though she does not add anything else in her submission. Regardless, we will not be able to identify this organism, and the reason for this is because it came from her body. Any situation in which an organism comes from a person or animal’s body must be presumed to be medical in nature, as we cannot risk making an identification that will be misconstrued as a diagnosis. Since we are not medical professionals, we are neither qualified nor legally able to make these kinds of identifications in the first place. What we can do is point our reader in the direction of some resources she can use to find someone that is qualified to answer her questions and identify what came out of her nose.
Naturally, she could go to her primary care doctor or the ER, but unfortunately most primary care doctors and ER doctors are not equipped to deal with situations like these: they do not receive training in medical parasitology. That is not to say that this is a parasite, but when an organism enters or exits one’s body, one will want to consult a medical parasitologist to find out if it is a parasite. It is best to prepare for the worst case scenario. For that reason, we suggest that our reader consult a medical parasitologist, as they specialize in this field.
To find a medical parasitologist, our reader can do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in their 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!
Additionally, it would be helpful for the physician if our reader provides all the same picture she sent us, and that she also provides as much context around the situation as possible. Information that may prove useful for a physician includes: If this has happened multiple times. When it started. If she is experiencing any symptoms apart from coughing up the organism(s). If she has eaten any under-cooked/raw meats recently. If she has traveled anywhere recently.
In conclusion, we cannot identify the organism our reader coughed up, because we are not medical professionals. We hope nonetheless that we were able to help in some way, and we wish her the very best!
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