Cutaneous larva migrans: clinical features and management of 44 cases presenting in the returning traveller

Br J Dermatol. 2001 Sep;145(3):434-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2001.04406.x.


Background: Cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) is the result of a nematode infection, and shows a characteristic creeping eruption. As travel to the tropics increases, many British citizens may be returning with this infection, which is often misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly.

Objectives: To perform a retrospective survey of 44 cases of CLM presenting to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London over the last 2 years.

Methods: Cases were reviewed with regard to patient characteristics, source of infection, source of referral, clinical features and therapy.

Results: Most infections were acquired in Africa (32%), the Caribbean (30%) and South-east Asia (25%), but also in Central and South America. There was a history of exposure to a beach in 95% of patients and the median duration of symptoms was 8 weeks (range 1-104). Lesions mainly affected the feet (39%), buttocks (18%) and abdomen (16%), but the lower leg, arm and face were also affected. Multiple lesions were seen in seven of 44 cases (16%). Laboratory abnormalities were absent in all patients. Of 44 patients seen, four needed no treatment, 28 were cured by a single course of treatment, 11 required a second course of therapy and one patient was treated three times. Thirty-one patients received oral albendazole 400 mg daily for 3-5 days and 24 were cured (77%). Five patients received 10% thiabendazole cream topically for 10 days and four were cured (80%). Four patients received oral thiabendazole 1.5 g daily for 3 days and all required further therapy.

Conclusions: In view of the range of treatment regimens recorded, a randomized controlled trial comparing topical and systemic therapies is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Larva Migrans / diagnosis*
  • Larva Migrans / drug therapy
  • Larva Migrans / transmission
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thiabendazole / therapeutic use
  • Travel*


  • Anthelmintics
  • Albendazole
  • Thiabendazole