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Int J Parasitol. 2013 Nov;43(12-13):1009-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2013.07.006. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Ancylostoma ceylanicum, a re-emerging but neglected parasitic zoonosis.

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School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland 4343, Australia. Electronic address:


Although Ancylostoma ceylanicum is known to be an endemic and widely distributed hookworm of dogs and cats in Asia, its contribution to human morbidity as a potentially zoonotic hookworm remains largely unexplored. Since its discovery by Lane (1913) as a 'new parasite' of humans a century ago, the hookworm has been regarded as a 'rare' and 'abnormal' parasite and largely overlooked in surveys of human parasites. Recent molecular-based surveys in Asia, however, have demonstrated that A. ceylanicum is the second most common hookworm species infecting humans, comprising between 6% and 23% of total patent hookworm infections. In experimentally induced infections, A. ceylanicum mimics the clinical picture produced by the anthroponotic hookworms of 'ground itch' and moderate to severe abdominal pain in the acute phase. Natural infections with A. ceylanicum in humans have been reported in almost all geographical areas in which the hookworm is known to be endemic in dogs and cats, however for the majority of reports, no clinical data are available. Much like the anthroponotic hookworm species, patent A. ceylanicum adults can isolate within the jejunum to produce chronic infections that on occasion, may occur in high enough burdens to produce anaemia. In addition, the hookworm can act much like Ancylostoma caninum and be found lower in the gastrointestinal tract leading to abdominal distension and pain, diarrhoea and occult blood in the faeces accompanied by peripheral eosinophilia. Whether A. ceylanicum is capable of producing both classical hookworm disease and evoking morbidity through an uncontrolled allergic response in some individuals remains unascertained. Future investigations combining the use of molecular diagnostic tools with clinical and pathological data will shed further light on its role as a human pathogen. The control of this zoonosis necessitates an integrated and inter-sectorial "One Health" approach be adopted in communities where large numbers of dogs share a close relationship with humans.


Ancylostoma ceylanicum; Emerging disease; Hookworm; Zoonosis

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