Archive for December 26, 2016

Halicephalobus gingivalis – a rare cause of fatal meningoencephalomyelitis in humans.

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Jun;88(6):1062-4.

Papadi B1, Boudreaux C, Tucker JA, Mathison B, Bishop H, Eberhard ME.

Author information

1University of South Alabama Medical Center, Mobile, AL, USA.


The genus Halicephalobus consists of eight species of free-living nematodes. Only one species (H. gingivalis) has been reported to infect vertebrates.

Human infection is extremely rare, and only four cases have been reported in the literature.

These nematodes seem to exhibit neurotropism, but their life cycle, mode of infection, and risk factors are poorly understood.

Neurohelminthiases are not commonly recognized in the United States and when they do occur, pose great diagnostic challenges because of lack of appropriate non-invasive screening and/or confirmatory tests.

We report a challenging case of meningoencephalomyelitis caused by a Halicephalobus sp., in which the patient had a rapidly deteriorating clinical course.

The case did not raise any clinical suspicion of neurohelminthiases, although increased eosinophils were present in the cerebrospinal fluid.

This case presents an opportunity to highlight the importance of considering parasitic infection in meningoencephalitis or meningoencephalomyelitis presenting atypically.



December 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm

First human case of fatal Halicephalobus gingivalis meningoencephalitis in Australia.

J Clin Microbiol. 2015 May;53(5):1768-74.

Lim CK1, Crawford A2, Moore CV3, Gasser RB4, Nelson R5, Koehler AV4, Bradbury RS6, Speare R7, Dhatrak D2, Weldhagen GF3.

Author information

1Department of Microbiology, SA Pathology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

2Department of Histopathology, SA Pathology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

3Department of Microbiology, SA Pathology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

4Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

5Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

6School of Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.

7College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia Tropical Health Solutions, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.


Halicephalobus gingivalis (previously Micronema deletrix) is a free-living nematode known to cause opportunistic infections, mainly in horses.

Human infections are very rare, but all cases described to date involved fatal meningoencephalitis. Here we report the first case of H. gingivalis infection in an Australian human patient, confirmed by nematode morphology and sequencing of ribosomal DNA.

The implications of this case are discussed, particularly, the need to evaluate real-time PCR as a diagnostic tool.


December 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm


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