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 that they provoke.

Varieties of subcutaneous parasites and methods of infection

Larval stage of subcutaneous parasites

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

  1. Dirofilariasis. This ailment provokes the larval stage of the nematode. Infection occurs when a mosquito (louse, flea or tick) bites, which is a carrier 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 the skin of a person for 3 months. Domestic cats and dogs can also transmit the infection.
  2. If we list what parasites live under the skin, then we cannot fail to mention the filariae. Infection is caused by certain types of nematodes. In this case, various diseases arise: onchocerciasis, dipetalonematosis, loiasis and mansonellosis. The carriers of worms and their intermediate hosts are insects (mosquitoes, midges, horseflies, etc. ). They infect human filarias with larvae, as a result of which worms appear in the skin.
  3. Another skin parasite in humans is cysticercus larvae. They provoke cysticercosis. The invasion occurs through the intestines, where worms penetrate with dirty hands, water or food. Cysticercus is an oval vesicle containing the parasite's scolex inside. Subcutaneous worms can change from round to fusiform. Man acts as an intermediate master.
  4. Schistosomiasis is a disease that is provoked by worms in a person from the order of trematodes. These are fluke worms up to 2 cm long. The larvae of this parasite, which can swim in water, are cercariae. They can penetrate 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 worms cause dracunculiasis and are classified as large nematodes. Their intermediate hosts are water-dwelling copepods. First, the parasite enters the human stomach, and then from the retroperitoneal space it penetrates the skin. Males reach a length of 10 cm, and females - 120 cm.

Symptoms of dirofilariasis

Painful lumps 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, peri-renal 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 couple of days in a third of patients, there is a displacement of the seal by 20-30 cm from the site of the bite;
  • a person may feel distension, burning and itching at the site of the bite;
  • there is a feeling of crawling and wiggling under the skin;
  • periods of remission are followed by episodes of exacerbation;
  • the subcutaneous worm provokes the appearance of abscesses and boils (a worm lives inside them in the connecting capsule);
  • sometimes the abscesses break open on their own, and the white parasites crawl out of the skin.

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

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

Important! Dirofilariasis is accompanied by neuroses, fears and insomnia. Also, the patient develops irritability, headaches, general weakness and other signs.

Symptoms of filariasis

Filariasis infection is accompanied by itchy skin

After 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 skin rashes, damage to the eyes and lymph nodes, fever, the development of elephantiasis of the scrotum and limbs, since these are muscle parasites.


With onchocerciasis, parasites in human muscles manifest themselves with the following symptoms:

  • itchy skin;
  • feverish condition;
  • weakness;
  • dryness and peeling of the skin;
  • cutaneous hyperpigmentation (genitals, legs, axillary and groin folds);
  • papular rash;
  • erysipelas;
  • papules can form long-lasting ulcers;
  • under the skin, worms provoke atrophy of hair follicles, sweat glands and epidermis;
  • painful fibrous nodes 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 provoke the following symptoms:

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


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

  • rashes on the skin;
  • feverish condition;
  • parasites in human muscles can provoke muscle abscesses;
  • pain in the limbs;
  • swelling of the skin in limited areas, which does not go away for a long time;
  • if parasites enter the eyes, blepharitis or conjunctivitis develops;
  • disorder of urination 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 provokes the appearance of joint pain

With this form of the disease, worms under the human skin can provoke the following complex of symptoms:

  • itchy rashes;
  • joint pain;
  • feverish condition;
  • swelling of the skin;
  • dropsy of the testicle;
  • numbness of the limbs;
  • an increase in the inguinal lymph nodes.

Symptoms of cysticercosis

These parasites on human skin can easily penetrate with food into the gastrointestinal tract, where the embryo 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 cysticercus and provoke the appearance of the following symptoms:

  • under the skin, multiple or single tumor-like painless oval formations appear (usually they are localized on the inner side of the shoulders, at the top of the chest and on the palms);
  • in the seals, you can feel the cavity;
  • over time, these seals grow;
  • new formations appear;
  • when carrying out a histology of education, a cysticercus can be found inside;
  • hives;
  • rarely, the nodes fester, but more often they do not change for many years and occasionally resolve themselves.

Symptoms of schistosomiasis

Schistosomes under human skin cause hives

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

  • hives;
  • severe itching;
  • spotty rashes appear every other day.

Then a period of calm ensues for several weeks. In the circulatory system, schistosomes reach the stage of sexually mature individuals and migrate into the vasculature of the genitourinary system. After a couple of months, the patient develops the following symptoms:

  • dry cough;
  • feverish condition;
  • hives;
  • heavy sweating at night;
  • enlargement of the 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 a decrease in learning ability, anemia, developmental delay and memory impairment.

Dracunculiasis symptoms

If a person drinks water containing infected copepods, then after their death, helminth larvae are released in the patient's digestive system. They penetrate the retroperitoneal space and migrate through the lymphatic system into soft tissues. Only after 3 months, 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 infection appears only after 10-14 months in the form of urticaria, fainting, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and suffocation;
  • 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 autopsy, the patient feels a burning sensation and sharp pains.

Worth knowing! Usually rishtose blisters are located on the skin of the legs, but sometimes they can be on the stomach, arms and other parts of the body. Also, the female can settle in the connective tissues of the joints. In this case, his immobility, contracture and inflammation of the bag appear.

With a secondary infection, there may be phlegmon, abscess, sepsis and gangrene. If a patient with an open bladder falls into a reservoir, then thousands of larvae will again be swallowed up by cyclops crustaceans, which will cause further spread of the infection.