“Identity please?” is all this reader writes in her submission regarding the long, off-white worm-like creature pictured below. In any case where the worm photographed is not unique in its appearance and thus instantly recognizable, identifying a worm based only on a photo is nearly impossible without context. For that reason, we will not be able to provide our reader with a concrete identity of this organism: its white color and nondescript body renders this worm generic in appearance, which is makes it all that much harder to pinpoint its exact identity. With that said, what we will do is provide an educated guess and give our reader some pointers as to what she might want to do, depending on what her concerns are.
Based only on its appearance (the off-white color and the roundness of its body), we would say this looks most like a roundworm. Roundworms are intestinal parasites, meaning they infect the intestines of mammals and feed off the nutrients they ingest. One catches roundworms through the ingestion of their eggs, which happens after touching faeces or soil that has said eggs in it and then not washing one’s hands. Now, this is merely what we think it looks like, but we cannot say that for certain. That is not only because of the aforementioned lack of context, but also because we are not medical professionals. Naturally, we do not know the context in which this worm was discovered: we do not know if our reader found it roaming in her home, or if she found it in her toilet. That piece of information would make all the difference. But, in any case, since we are not medical professionals, we are neither qualified nor legally able to identify parasitic organisms, as they always pose a threat to one’s health, which needs to be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
If our reader’s concern is medical in nature, we advise consulting a medical parasitologist. So, what we can recommend is that our reader 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!
That said, if our reader is not concerned for her health, then we would recommend she clean her home (especially if she found many of these), which includes cleaning her drains, vacuuming her home (thoroughly), and laundering her clothing and textiles (especially those that contain organic fibers such as cotton or wool). Additionally, preventing infestations of worms is key in controlling and eliminating them as well, and that includes sealing cracks in walls and floors, ensuring that one’s window screens are intact, and consistent house-keeping.
In conclusion, we do not know what this worm could be. It looks like a roundworm, but we cannot make that identification as we are not medical professionals. Nonetheless, we hope something in this article proves helpful, and we wish our reader the very best!
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