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Acta Trop. 1996 Sep;62(1):23-44.

Human enteric infection with Ancylostoma caninum: hookworms reappraised in the light of a "new" zoonosis.

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Department of Parasitology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Recent studies in northeastern Australia indicate that enteric infection with Ancylostoma caninum is a leading cause of human eosinophilic enteritis. Much more frequent accompaniments of this infection are obscure abdominal pain with or without blood eosinophilia, while a large part of the population is probably infected asymptomatically. These conclusions are based on extensive serological investigations in patients and control subjects, as well as 15 cases in which single, adult hookworms were identified in situ in patients. In no case has more than one worm been identified, and none has been fully mature, so the infections have never been patent. Aphthous ulcers of the terminal ileum, caecum and colon have been seen in association with this infection and have also been observed in almost 5% of patients who are colonoscoped in north Queensland. Serodiagnosis has relied on an IgG and IgE ELISA using excretory-secretory antigens from adult A. caninum, but Western blot using these antigens to identify IgG4 antibodies to a protein of molecular weight 68 kDa (Ac68) promises to be more specific and sensitive. However, identical antigens appear to be secreted by the anthropophilic hookworms as well. The clinical, public health and biological significance of these findings are discussed in detail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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