• Norval W. KingJr.
Part of the Monographs on Pathology of Laboratory Animals book series (LABORATORY)


The adult forms of Prosthenorchis elegans and Prosthenorchis spirula inhabit the lumen of the terminal ileum, cecum and colon of susceptible hosts, where they firmly attach themselves to the wall of the gut by embedding their prominent, hook-laden proboscis deep into the submucosa and tunica muscularis. The number of adult parasites present can vary from one to more than 100 and may effectively occlude the lumen of the intestine. At the site of attachment of each parasite there is a sharply delineated, 1.0–2.0 mm mucosal ulcer surrounded by a rim of connective tissue (Fig. 69). On cut-section, the ulcers extend into the submucosa and tunica muscularis and are surrounded by a nodular mass of connective tissue. Ulcers may also be found without a parasite attached, suggesting that these parasites may, at times, release themselves and reattach at other sites. These parasitic nodules are usually also visible on the serosal surface of the intestine. Occasionally, an ulcer will rupture through the wall of the intestine, resulting in the formation of abdominal or pelvic abscesses, adhesions and peritonitis. Rarely, an adult parasite can be found free in the abdominal or pelvic cavity as the result of such rupture.


Acanthocephaliasis Prosthenorchis elegans infection Prosthenorchis spirula infection thorny-headed worm infection 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • Norval W. KingJr.

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