Gnathostomiasis Acquired by British Tourists in Botswana

Joanna S. Herman; Emma C. Wall; Christoffer van Tulleken; Peter Godfrey-Faussett; Robin L. Bailey; Peter L. Chiodini


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2009;15(4):594-597. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Infection with Gnathostoma spinigerum has been generally confined to Southeast Asia and Central and South America. However, gnathostomiasis was recently found in British tourists who had visited Botswana. Consequently, travel to Africa should now be considered a risk factor for gnathostomiasis.


In recent years, gnathostomiasis has increasingly been found in persons in countries where Gnathostoma spinigerum has not been endemic. However, Gnathostoma spp. should now be considered emerging imported pathogens. Apart from 2 previous reports of gnathostomiasis in Zambia and Tanzania,[1] Africa has been considered free of this disease. Most persons seen in the West with gnathostomiasis have acquired the infection in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Japan,[2,3,4] or in Central or South America, especially Mexico,[5,6] where the main risk factor is consumption of raw or undercooked fish. Because few clinicians outside gnathostomiasis-endemic regions are familiar with the disease, diagnosis is often missed or delayed.

Our report describes a man with confirmed gnathostomiasis and another who probably had the disease; both had been on a fishing trip between Shakawe and Maun in northwest Botswana. A recent health alert from Johannesburg, South Africa, describes 2 clusters of infection with Gnathostoma sp. also acquired in the same region in Botswana as that visited by our 2 patients.[7]


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