Tangle of Parasitic Worms Discovered in Man's Stomach

The tangle of parasitic roundworms was discovered after an ultrasound scan in India.
Fabienne Lang

Nothing like knowing you have a bunch of squirming parasitic roundworms in your stomach to make you lose your appetite. 

A young 20-year-old man in New Delhi, India, was on the unfortunate end of receiving this exact news following an ultrasound while in hospital. 

After suffering abdominal pains, vomiting, and diarrhea for a day, he brought himself to the emergency room and discovered his pains were due to a tangle of parasites in his stomach.

A report on the news was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Doctors found the roundworms while they checked the man's fluid levels in his blood vessels, Live Science reports. As he was showing high levels of white blood cells, the medical team wanted to take an ultrasound of his inferior vena cava, a vein near the abdomen, to cross off any potential infection. 

Instead of coming across an infection, the team reported that "tubular … structure that moved with a curling motion," was found in his stomach.

After examining a stool sample, the team discovered eggs from a parasitic roundworm that lives in the stomach, officially named Ascaris lumbricoides. 

This type of parasite is one of the most common human ones, affecting 807 million out of 1.2 billion people worldwide, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains.

Little comfort does that information provide, and these roundworms can grow up to 14 inches (35 centimeters). 

These types of parasitic worms are most commonly found in tropical or subtropical countries and are easily picked up from contaminated soil. The soil is contaminated by human feces used are fertilizer or by outdoor defecation. 

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It's easy to catch the worms by eating raw fruits or vegetables grown in infected soil, for instance. Lack of clean sanitation poses an issue, as typically washing hands and edible goods properly helps to keep the parasites at bay.

The disease is treated easily enough by using antiparasitic drugs, which were given to the man in question in New Delhi. After two weeks, the man spoke with doctors and said that he felt better and had passed the worms in his stool. 

Take a look at these 11 other parasites if you want to keep yourself awake at night.

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