Tangle of roundworms found in man's stomach
An ultrasound of a man's stomach has uncovered an unexpected cause behind abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Doctors found a "tubular ... structure that moved with a curling motion" which was later identified as a tangle of parasitic round worms.
Tests on the 20-year-old man from New Delhi, India, who experienced one day of the symptoms, revealed he had high levels of white blood cells and haemoglobin.
The latter can indicate several conditions, from dehydration to blood cancer, according to a recent report in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Doctors were led to perform an ultrasound on the man's inferior vena cava, a large vein near the abdomen, where the Ascaris lumbricoides roundworm, a type of intestinal parasite, was found.
A stool sample was later found to be contaminated with eggs from the parasite.
The Ascaris lumbricoides, which can grow up to 35 centimetres, are the most common human parasitic worms, with 800 million to 1.2 billion people worldwide estimated to have them in their intestinal tracts, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The worm is commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas with poor sanitation and lack of access to hygiene supplies.
CDC said people become infected by eating the eggs, commonly via fruits or vegetables that have been grown in soil which has been contaminated by human faeces.
People can also become infected by not washing their hands after handling contaminated soil.
The man was treated with an anti-parasitic drug and released from the hospital the following day.