Aussie couple infected with toothed worms

July 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM
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PRAHRAN, Australia, July 7 (UPI) -- An Australian doctor said a couple in Victoria are believed to be the first in the country to become infected with a species of parasitic worms with teeth.

Dr. Andrew Fuller of the Alfred hospital in Prahran said the couple are believed to have ingested the gnathostomiasis larvae when they caught and ate a fish, likely a black bream, during a Western Australia camping trip, The (Melbourne) Herald Sun reported Wednesday.

Fuller said the tiny worms have teeth allowing them to "go anywhere they like in the body."

"They move under the skin and cause itchy lumps that can make you feel sick -- and it can be very hard to diagnose," the doctor said.

He said symptoms of infection include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and skin irritations resembling an orange peel.

Fuller said the couple recovered after receiving a course of antibiotics. He said he has treated the condition before, but the couple are believed to have been the first to contract the worms in Australia.

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