A Case of Human Thelaziasis and Review of Chinese Cases



Human cases of thelaziasis caused by Thelazia callipaeda have increased in China in recent years. Although this species is of medical importance, our knowledge about the epidemiology of thelaziasis is still fragmentary. This study first reports a case of thelaziasis in central China. Then, the epidemiology of thelaziasis in China in the past 100 years (1917–2018) is reviewed.


A 5-year-old girl experienced discomfort in her left eye. Four thread-like worms were seen in the nasal upper eyelid of the left eye. The symptoms disappeared after these parasites were removed. In addition, we reviewed studies of Chinese human thelaziasis cited in articles or book chapters in all languages from inception to 31 Dec 2019.


China is the nation with the most reports of thelaziasis (653 cases) in the world. More human cases were reported in central and eastern China than in other areas, and the majority of cases were from rural areas in poor socioeconomic settings.


Special attention should be paid to this neglected disease in China. The use of a One Health approach is imperative for preventing eyeworm infections in humans.

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This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1704189 and 81971956), Henan Province Science and Technology Key Project (182102310075) and Backbone Teachers Development Program in Henan Province (2017GGJS011).

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Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Zhong Quan Wang or Xi Zhang.

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All authors have declared that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

Patient management in this study was strictly performed according to the rules of the Life Science Ethics Committee of Zhengzhou University, following the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. To collect the parasites from the eye of the child patient, we first obtained permission from her legal guardians. In addition, the worms were not collected for the purpose of this study but for removal from the child patient to treat thelaziasis.

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Liu, S.N., Xu, F.F., Chen, W.Q. et al. A Case of Human Thelaziasis and Review of Chinese Cases. Acta Parasit. 65, 783–786 (2020). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-020-00190-6

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  • Thelaziasis
  • Thelazia callipaeda
  • Eye worm
  • Epidemiology
  • China