Types and symptoms of subcutaneous parasites in humans

There are several parasites that can inhabit human skin. For the first time, such worms were found in India, but now they are found in other latitudes. Parasites under the skin cause a lot of discomfort to a person and require treatment. They are not as dangerous as worms in other organs, but with a long course of the disease they can lead to serious complications. In our article we will list all types of subcutaneous parasites, the symptoms of the diseases they cause.

Varieties of subcutaneous parasites and methods of infection

Larval stage of subcutaneous parasites

If you want to know who is crawling under the skin, the following subcutaneous parasites are found in humans:

  1. Heartworm disease. This disease causes the larval stage of the nematode. Infection occurs when a mosquito (lice, flea or tick) bites, which is a vector of the disease. A sexually mature individual reaches a length of 30 cm, and the larva of this parasite is microscopic. After infection, it develops under a person's skin for 3 months. Domestic cats and dogs can also transmit the infection.
  2. If we list the parasites that live under the skin, we cannot fail to mention the heartworms. Infection is caused by certain types of nematodes. In this case, various diseases occur: onchocerciasis, dipetalonematosis, loiasis and mansonellosis. The carriers of worms and their intermediate hosts are insects (mosquitoes, midges, horseflies, etc. ). They infect human heartworms with larvae, as a result of which worms appear in the skin.
  3. Another skin parasite in humans is the cysticercus larva. They cause cysticercosis. The invasion occurs through the intestines, where the worms enter with dirty hands, water or food. Cysticercus is an oval vesicle containing the parasite's scolex inside. Subcutaneous worms can change from round to spindle-shaped. Man acts as an intermediary master.
  4. Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by worms in a person of the order trematodes. They are fluke worms up to 2 cm long. The larvae of this parasite, which can swim in water, are cercariae. They can enter the human body directly through the skin. This infection can live in any organ, including under the skin.
  5. Rishta is another worm under the skin. These white grubs cause dracunculiasis and are classified as a large nematode. Their intermediate hosts are aquatic copepods. First, the parasite enters the human stomach, then from the retroperitoneal space it enters the skin. Males reach a length of 10 cm, and females - 120 cm.

Symptoms of heartworm disease

Painful bumps after a mosquito bite can be a symptom of heartworm

The larvae of this parasite with the bloodstream can spread throughout the body and settle in the eyes, pulmonary artery, heart, serous cavities, perrenal fatty tissue and under the skin. If there is an invasion by a type of worm called Dirofilaria repens, the conjunctiva or subcutaneous fat is affected.

The signs and symptoms of this disease are as follows:

  • painful seals appear at the site of the insect bite;
  • within a few days in a third of patients there is a displacement of the seal by 20-30 cm from the bite site;
  • a person may experience distension, burning and itching at the bite site;
  • there is a feeling of crawling and squirming under the skin;
  • periods of remission are followed by episodes of exacerbation;
  • the subcutaneous worm provokes the appearance of abscesses and boils (inside a worm lives in the connecting capsule);
  • sometimes the abscesses open on their own and the white parasites come out of the skin.

If the conjunctiva is damaged, the following symptoms are present:

  • swelling, itching, and watery eyes;
  • a feeling that a foreign object is present in the eye or eyelid;
  • a person cannot fully open the eyelid;
  • vision deteriorates;
  • a worm can be seen under the conjunctiva;
  • a lump is visible under the skin of the eyelid;
  • the person has a feeling of crawling under the skin or in the eyes;
  • if the parasite enters the eyeball, diplopia and bulging of the eye appear.

Important! Heartworm disease is accompanied by neurosis, fears and insomnia. In addition, the patient develops irritability, headache, general weakness and other signs.

Symptoms of filariasis

Filariasis infection is accompanied by itchy skin

After the invasion, filariasis can develop over several years. Various symptoms and signs can develop depending on the form of the disease. Common to these parasitic diseases will be the appearance of ulcers and rashes, damage to the eyes and lymph nodes, fever, the development of elephantiasis of the scrotum and limbs, since they are muscle parasites.


With onchocerciasis, the parasites in human muscles are manifested by the following symptoms:

  • itchy skin;
  • feverish state;
  • weakness;
  • dryness and peeling of the skin;
  • skin hyperpigmentation (genitals, legs, axillary and inguinal folds);
  • papular rash;
  • erysipelas;
  • papules can form long-lasting ulcers;
  • under the skin, the worms cause atrophy of hair follicles, sweat glands and epidermis;
  • painful fibrous knots form under the skin;
  • with eye damage, glaucoma, iridocyclitis, conjunctivitis, corneal cyst, keratitis and other eye diseases develop.


Swollen lymph nodes with dipetalonematosis

These subcutaneous worms in humans cause the following symptoms:

  • enlarged lymph nodes;
  • erythematous or maculopapular rash;
  • dizziness;
  • fever;
  • swelling of the lower limbs, face and genitals;
  • articular pain;
  • pain in the heart;
  • symptoms of meningoencephalitis.


Parasites living under the human skin, together with loiasis, contribute to the appearance of the following clinical picture of the disease:

  • rashes on the skin;
  • feverish state;
  • parasites in human muscles can cause muscle abscesses;
  • pain in the limbs;
  • swelling of the skin in limited areas, which does not go away for a long time;
  • if parasites get into the eyes, blepharitis or conjunctivitis develops;
  • urination disorder with localization of infection in the urethra.

Important! These subcutaneous parasites in humans can lead to complications in the form of meningitis, heart failure, encephalitis.


Mansonellosis causes the onset of joint pain

With this form of the disease, the worms under the human skin can cause the following symptom complex:

  • itchy rashes;
  • articular pain;
  • feverish state;
  • swelling of the skin;
  • dropsy of the testis;
  • numbness of the limbs;
  • an increase in inguinal lymph nodes.

Symptoms of cysticercosis

These parasites on human skin can easily enter the digestive tract with food, where the embryonic membrane dissolves and the larva emerges. They enter the bloodstream and are carried throughout the body. After settling in certain organs, the larvae turn into a cysticercus and cause the following symptoms:

  • under the skin multiple or single, tumor-like, painless and oval-shaped formations appear (they are usually localized on the inner side of the shoulders, on the top of the chest and on the palms);
  • in seals, one feels the cavity;
  • over time, these seals grow larger;
  • new formations appear;
  • when carrying out an educational histology, a cysticercus can be found inside;
  • urticaria;
  • rarely, the nodes become infected, but more often they do not change for many years, and sometimes they resolve on their own.

Symptoms of schistosomiasis

Schistosomes under human skin cause hives

Schistosome larvae can enter human skin directly from the aquatic environment. Within hours, they can be in the bloodstream. With the invasion of the skin, the following symptoms appear:

  • urticaria;
  • severe itching;
  • mottled rashes appear every other day.

A period of calm followed for several weeks. In the circulatory system, schistosomes reach the stage of sexually mature individuals and migrate through the vascular system of the genitourinary system. After a few months, the patient develops the following symptoms:

  • dry cough;
  • feverish state;
  • urticaria;
  • profuse sweating at night;
  • enlarged liver;
  • vaginal bleeding;
  • blood in the urine;
  • pathology of the prostate, kidneys and bladder;
  • nodes on the genitals;
  • infertility.

Important! In childhood, schistosomiasis contributes to reduced learning ability, anemia, developmental delay and memory impairment.

Symptoms of dracunculiasis

If a person drinks water containing infected copepods, after death helminth larvae are released into the patient's digestive system. They enter the retroperitoneal space and migrate through the lymphatic system into soft tissue. It is only after 3 months that the female of this parasite can invade the skin or connective tissues for further development. As the female grows, the patient develops the characteristic symptoms of the disease:

  • an allergic reaction to the infection does not appear until after 10-14 months in the form of hives, fainting, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and choking;
  • a year later, a rishtosis bladder appears on the skin (its diameter reaches 2-7 cm, but there are no signs of inflammation);
  • you can see a helminth in the bladder;
  • after a few days, the bubble itself opens and the necrotic masses are rejected;
  • at the autopsy, the patient feels a burning sensation and severe pain.

Good to know! Rishtosis blisters are usually located on the skin of the legs, but they can sometimes be found on the stomach, arms, and other parts of the body. In addition, the female can settle in the connective tissues of the joints. In this case, his immobility, contracture and inflammation of the bag appear.

With secondary infection, there may be phlegmon, abscess, sepsis, and gangrene. If a patient with an open bladder falls into a reservoir, thousands of larvae will again be engulfed by Cyclops crustaceans, causing the infection to spread further.