Toxocariasis

Toxocariasis is caused by Toxocara cati (from cats) or T. canis (from dogs). This nematode has been found in the enucleated eyes of young patients with a severe type of chorioretinitis. It is a unilateral disease found in children who are in close contact with puppies or eat dirt (through faecal contamination). The vitreous tends to be filled with a white mass of inflammatory cells so that the presence of a tumour might be suspected (e.g., retinoblastoma). End-ophthalmitis tends to develop in these cases and the sight of one eye might be completely lost. During the acute stage, the peripheral blood can show an eosinophilia. Treatment is unsatisfactory and includes a combination of antihelminthic agent taken by mouth (thioben-dazole or diethylcarbamazine) and steroids.

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