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BMJ Case Rep. 2014 Apr 1;2014. pii: bcr2013200078. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-200078.

It isn't always caviar.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


A 47-year-old HIV-positive woman presented with fever and a painful swollen right forearm. Clinical presentation and MRI were suggestive for a necrotising fasciitis. Surgical exploration revealed small transparent cystic bodies resembling white caviar, which were identified by their typical morphological features as larval stages (cysticerci) of Taenia crassiceps. Molecular methods, using sequence analysis of the small subunit rRNA gene, definitively confirmed T crassiceps. T crassiceps (Cestodea: Taeniidae) is a tapeworm found in the intestines of red foxes and dogs in the Northern Hemisphere. Human infections are rare and appear to depend on the host's immunocompetence. The eight published cases could not clarify the mode of infection but discuss ingestion of teniid eggs or penetration through a cutaneous wound. The optimal treatment remains unclear. We describe a detailed and successful treatment strategy including extensive surgical interventions, prolonged anthelmintic and antiretroviral treatment.

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