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In a survey in Central Africa, ophthalmologists found a series of eye infections by parasites. After surgical removal of suspicious material, DNA tests identified parasites of the genus Armillifer, also called pentastomes.
These are worm-like parasites phylogenetically related to shellfish. Their larvae normally infect inner organs, but also the eyes. Further examinations in Central Africa revealed that several patients were multiply infected, often in the abdomen, sometimes by various parasite species. Patients appear to have been infected by ingestion of raw snakes contaminated with pentastome eggs.
Dennis Tappe, Birgit Muntau and external co-operation partners (see publication)