“Is this a parasite?” asks this reader in her submission. “It came out when my boyfriend’s aunt cleaned her coffee pot! It swam around the carafe for hours until the bleach water finally won the battle. YUCK!” Well, unfortunately we can’t tell what organism our reader is referring to in the photo. We assume it could be the translucent, ovate objects on the clear dish, but we cannot be certain. And the photo is quite blurry, so we nonetheless would not be able to provide an identification that is certain or accurate. On top of that, we cannot confirm or deny if any organism is a parasite, because parasites always pose a medical threat. Since we are not medical professionals, we are not qualified nor legally able to identify organisms of this nature.
If our reader has reason to believe that this is a parasite, or some other type of worm negatively affecting the health of her boyfriend, aunt, or herself, then we recommend consulting a medical parasitologist. As opposed to a primary care physician, medical parasitologists specialize in diagnosing and treating parasitic infections, and they take situations like these very seriously.
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 her area 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 (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
Now, if it turns out that these are not parasites, then we are inclined to believe they could be pantry moth caterpillars. As their name suggests, pantry moth caterpillars tend to invade people’s pantries, and their kitchens in general. They are on the hunt after dried food goods, which they love to munch on. These include cereals, grains, pet food, and, yes, coffee. So, it is possible that our reader’s boyfriend’s aunt’s coffee is infested with pantry moth caterpillars, though other items could be infested too. If she finds out that this is the case, then she should throw out any infested items (in an outdoor bin, otherwise the infestation will just continue indoors). To prevent future infestations, we recommend storing dried foods in airtight containers and keeping one’s pantry and kitchen clean.
To conclude, we cannot say if the organism in the photo is a parasite or not. Mostly because we are not medical professionals, but partly because we cannot see the organism in the photo. That said, we do want to stress that just because the worm was found in a coffee pot, it does not mean that the worm came from a person, and that it is a parasite. It could very well be a pantry moth caterpillar that was inside the coffee. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader the very best.
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