Angiostrongylus costaricensis

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Angiostrongylus costaricensis
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Adult parasite of Angiostrongylus costaricensis, a helminth that causes acute intestinal inflammation known as abdominal angiostrongyliasis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Nematoda
Class: Secernentea
Order: Strongylida
Family: Metastrongylidae
Genus: Angiostrongylus
Species: A. costaricensis
Binomial name
Angiostrongylus costaricensis
Morera & Cespedes, 1971

Angiostrongylus costaricensis is a species of parasitic nematode. Its distribution includes Brazil.[1]


Humans and rodents are the definitive hosts. The main rodent host is the Cotton Rat.

Molluscs are the intermediate host and are infected through ingestion or penetration of the foot by L1 infective larvae from infected feces.


Pathology is due to both the adults and the eggs. Adults in the ileo-caecal arterioles cause an inflammatory (eosinophilic) response in humans. In the Cotton Rat the adult worms cause local haemorrhages.

The intestinal wall is also affected. In humans there is a thickening of the intestinal wall (ileum, appendix and caecum). In rats with heavy infestations there is a yellow discolouring of the surface of the intestinal walls.

Clinical signs and diagnosis[edit]

  • Abdominal pain which presents as a palpable mass on clinical examination
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

In the blood and tissue biopsy there is eosinophilia. Other methods of diagnosis from a biopsy are eggs and larvae in the blood vessels. Imaging of the liver and intestine can also be helpful. Serology is sometimes used to diagnose from a blood sample and there are specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).



  1. ^ a b Teixeira, Carlos Graeff; Thiengo, Silvana C.; Thome, José Willibaldo; Medeiros, Aline Bueno; Camillo-Coura, Lea; Agostini, Aventino A. (1993). "On the diversity of mollusc intermediate hosts of Angiostrongylus costaricensis Morera & Cespedes, 1971 in southern Brazil". Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 88 (3): 487–9. PMID 8107609. doi:10.1590/S0074-02761993000300020. 

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