Human infections are caused mainly by larvae of A. armillatus, which is distributed in West and Central Africa. A. grandis, which has drawn recent attention because of heavily symptomatic ocular infections, is prevalent in Central Africa. Two other species, A. moniliformis and A. akgistrodontis, are found in Asia.
Diagnosis relies on radiology and histologic examination. However, determining the pentastomid species, even in nonnecrotic lesions, is nearly impossible and would rely on counting the body annulations in arbitrary tissue section planes. Molecular tools, as shown in our studies, can facilitate diagnosis and are able to determine the causative organism to the species level, also in entirely necrotic and calcified lesions. Even multispecies pentastomid co-infections were found in some patients.
For a list of the group's publications about pentastomiasis, click here.