Heartworm is a disease that is most common in animals, but it can also occur in humans. It is caused by the larva of a threadlike nematode (roundworm) of the genus Dirofilaria.
For the first time in the Far East, an exotic disease appeared at the beginning of the 20th century. The patient lived in Khabarovsk.
“At first they thought that this case was imported, but it turned out that it was not. Larvae and mature specimens of these parasites were found in dogs, which indicated that a natural focus had appeared in the Khabarovsk Territory and the people are registered in the Amur region,” said Elena Gordienko, a professor at the Department of Histology and Biology at the Medical Academy.
Most often, the parasite affects the eyes or skin, but there are other forms of the disease, for example, pulmonary. Heartworm can live in the body for up to 12 years, and it is sometimes very difficult to make a correct diagnosis. The disease is often mistaken for something else, such as tumors or cysts.
The disease is not fatal, but it is very unpleasant. Patients complain of severe itching and pain, sensation of movement. The main method of treatment is surgical, when the parasite is simply removed from the body. It was to him that the doctors of one of the eye microsurgery clinics turned when a 72-year-old Amur resident turned to them. The man felt movement in the upper eyelid area, itching, burning.
“During the patient’s examination, a parasite was detected. In the dressing room, under local anesthesia, the parasite was removed. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory drugs were recommended to the patient to prevent complications,” said Maria Dzyuba, an intern at the clinic.
Experts believe that the main way to prevent the disease is to combat the growth of the feral cat population of dogs. It is from them that mosquitoes become infected. Also, it is necessary to treat water bodies to reduce the number of blood-sucking insects. A person should wear insect repellents and protective clothing.