Serious diarrhea with weight loss caused by Capillaria philippinensis acquired in China: a case report
© Fan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012
Received: 24 May 2012
Accepted: 28 September 2012
Published: 5 October 2012
Diarrhea caused by Capillaria philippinensis (C. philippinensis) has not been reported in any areas with the exception of Taiwan province in China. We herein report the misdiagnosis and subsequent management of a patient with diarrhea caused by C. philippinensis.
A 33-year-old woman from the outskirts of Danzhou city, Hainan province, China, had an 11-month history of chronic diarrhea with abdominal pain, edema, hypoalbuminemia, and severe weight loss. The patient was misdiagnosed at an outpatient clinic and one hospital. She was finally correctly diagnosed with C. philippinensis by stool examination. The patient was given a 30-days course of albendazole (400 mg/day) and had an uneventful and stable recovery.
Doctors cannot lose sight of patients’ dietary histories, must query stool examination results, and need to expand their knowledge of certain nonlocal and global diseases, especially those described in new case reports. Some diagnostic examinations must be performed repeatedly. Hainan province may be the epidemic focus of C. philippinensis.
KeywordsDiarrhea Intestinal capillariasis Capillaria philippinensis China
Laboratory investigations in 33-year old female patient from Danzhou in April 2010
110.0 - 150.0
Total protein (g/L)
38.0 - 60.0
0.37 - 0.44
35.0 - 55.0
mean corpuscular volume (fL)
82.0 - 95.0
1.0 - 2.0
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin(pg)
27.0 - 31.0
5.0 - 40.0
3.2 - 6.4
Lactic dehydrogenase (U/L)
110.0 - 240.0
50.0 - 80.0
Creatine Kinase-MB (U/L)
0 - 25
eosinophilic granulocytes counts(109/L)
0.1 - 0.5
180 - 390
Monocyte rate (%)
3.0 - 10.0
44 - 115
NO2 partial pressure(mmHg)
35.0 - 45.0
0.33 - 1.69
Arterial partial pressure of oxygen(mmHg)
80.0 - 100.0
Total cholesterol (mmol/L)
3.60 - 5.17
actual bicarbomate (mmol/L)
21.4 - 27.3
Apolipoprotein A-I (g/L)
1.0 - 1.6
Total CO2 (mmol/L)
22.0 - 32.0
Apolipoprotein B-100 (g/L)
0.6 - 1.1
Bases excess (mmol/L)
−3 - 3
High density lipoprotein (mmol/L)
1.17 - 2.00
37 - 44
Low density lipoprotein (mmol/L)
2.0 - 4.14
Arterial oxygin content (mL/dL)
17.6 - 23.6
Lipoprotein a (g/L)
0.05 - 0.3
Serum potassium (mmol/L)
3.5 - 5.3
FPG3.89 - 6.11
Serum sodium (mmol/L)
136.0 - 145.0
glycosylated serum protein (umol/L)
122 - 236
Serum calcium (mmol/L)
2.1 - 2.9
retinol binding protein (mg/L)
25 - 70
Serum chlorinum (mmol/L)
96.0 - 108.0
A 33-year-old woman came from the outskirts of Danzhou city, Hainan province, China. In April 2010, she reported an 11-month history of recurrent diarrhea associated with colicky pain. The watery diarrhea had persisted since May 2009, occurring about three to four times daily. She also experienced weight loss of 12.5 kg. She was admitted to an outpatient clinic and one hospital in Danzhou. Since May 2009 to March 2010, the patient was given a treatment of checking diarrhea. The detailed diagnosis, treatment and lab investigation of her diarrhea were not clear. In April 2010, because her symptoms could not be relieved, she was admitted to People’s Hospital of Hainan province in Haikou, China. Clinical examination showed moderate dehydration; pallor; a soft, nontender, nondistended abdomen; and marked pitting edema of the lower limbs. The liver and spleen were not enlarged.
Serum total protein and albumin levels were low (47 and 14 g/L, respectively), and proteinuria was not detected (Table 1). A chest radiograph and abdominal ultrasound did not disclose any specific abnormalities. Gastroscopy showed hyperemia, edema, and superficial erosions in the gastric antrum.
The patient reported eating sashimi of two raw Misgurnus anguillicaudatus loaches every day from March to April in 2009 to treat a 7-year history of constipation. One month later, the diarrhea associated with colicky pain emerged and persisted. She had no travel history outside the residence town in the time before falling ill. All other family members did not eat the fish, and were healthy without any diarrhea. The patient was given a 30-days course of albendazole (400 mg/day). The patient left the hospital at the fifth day of treatment. Till now, the patient had an uneventful and stable recovery through telephone follow-up visit.
C. philippinensis is a helminth of the small intestine and causes severe enteropathy and, at times, death in humans. Fish and fish-eating birds are natural hosts of C. philippinensis. Fish-eating birds may be infected with larvae from fish or be fed infected fish, perpetuating the parasite’s fish-bird life cycle. Humans can become infected when they eat raw or insufficiently cooked infected fish[8, 13]. Most female worms are oviparous, but a few female worms produce larvae, which can lead to autoinfections and hyperinfections. Humans commonly eat raw fish in many areas of China, such as Guangdong province and Guangxi province. Clonorchis sinensis has often been reported in these areas, but C. philippinensis has never been reported. In addition, stool examinations showed 0 to 1 eggs for every 10 ×40 microscopic fields in the case. Therefore, the doctors should be particularly sensitized to the consumption of raw fish which should be asked during anamnesis and made aware of zoonosis which are transmitted through raw or insufficiently cooked fish. It is much less knowledge of “nonlocal and global diseases”. Some diagnostic examinations must be carefully performed several times.
This patient was infected with C. philippinensis from the Misgurnus anguillicaudatus loach. In China, many people eat raw loaches because these fish are thought to have very high medicinal properties. People have been infected with several parasites from loaches, such as Clonorchis sinensis, Paragonimus westermani, and Echinostoma hortense. The C. philippinensis infection herein reported is the first to be documented in China outside of Taiwan province[9–11]. The patient ate sashimi of raw loaches because she had a 7-year history of constipation and had heard through the local elders that loaches can treat constipation. The patient had no travel history outside the residence town in the time before falling ill, so she had acquired C. philippinensis infection in Hainan. Taiwan and Hainan are geographically close to the Philippines and Thailand. Taiwan is a key rest stop on the north–south migratory routes of many fish-eating migratory birds that are thought to be the major carriers of C. philippinensis. Hainan province, including Hainan Island, is located in tropical and subtropical regions. Danzhou is located in the northwest of Hainan province. There are 67 species of wintering waterbirds on Hainan island. Therefore, people should change the attitude or custom of eating raw loaches for treating diseases, and Hainan province may be the natural epidemic focus of C. philippinensis.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Series Editor of this journal.
The authors thank the patient, and doctors, laboratory staff at the Department of Digestive Diseases, People’s Hospital of Hainan province, and Professor Dazhong Shi, Department of Pathogenic Biology, Lanzhou University, China, and all colleagues, Department of Pathogenic Biology, Hainan Medical University, China.
- Chitwood MB, Valesquez C, Salazar NG: Capillaria philippinensis sp.n. (Nematoda: Trichnellida), from the intestine of man in the Philippes. J Parasitol. 1968, 54: 368-371. 10.2307/3276953.PubMedView Article
- Chichino G, Bernuzzi AM, Bruno A, Cevini C, Atzori C, Malfitano A: Intestinal capillariasis (Capillaria philippinensis) acquired in Indonesia: a case report. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1992, 47: 10-12.PubMed
- Prasert S, Choosak N, Natthawut K: Human intestinal capillariasis in Thailand. World J Gastroenterol. 2008, 14: 506-510. 10.3748/wjg.14.506.View Article
- Soukhathammavong P, Sayasone S, Harimanana AN, Akkhavong A, Thammasack S, Phoumindr N, Choumlivong K, Choumlivong K, Keoluangkhot V, Phongmany S, Akkhavong K, Hatz C, Strobel M, Odermatt P: Three cases of intestinal capillariasis in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008, 79: 735-738.PubMed
- Kang G, Mathan M, Ramakrishna BS, Mathai E, Sarada V: Human intestinal capillariasis: first report from India. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyp. 1944, 88: 204-View Article
- Hoghooghi-Rad N, Maraghi S, Narenj-Zadeh A: Capillaria philippinensis infection in Khoozestan province, Iran: cases report. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1987, 37: 135-137.PubMed
- Lee SH, Hong ST, Chai JY, Kim WH, Kim YT, Song IS, Kim SW, Choi BI, Cross JH: A case of intestinal capillariasis in the Republic of Korea. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1993, 48: 542-546.PubMed
- Jone HC: Intestinal Capillariasis. Am Society for Microbiol. 1992, 5: 120-129.
- Lu LH, Lin MR, Choi WM, Hwang KP, Hsu YH, Bair MJ, Liu JD, Wang TE, Liu TP, Chung WC: Human intestinal capillariasis (Capillaria philippinensis) in Taiwan. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2006, 74: 810-813.PubMed
- Hwang KP: Human intestinal capillariasis (Capillaria philippinensis) in Taiwan. Zhonghua Min Guo Xiao Er Ke Yi Xue Hui Za Zhi. 1998, 39: 82-85.PubMed
- Chen CY, Hsieh WC, Lin JT, Liu MC: Intestinal capillariasis: report of a case. Taiwan Yi Xue Hui Za Zhi. 1989, 88: 617-620.PubMed
- el-Karaksy H, el-Shabrawi M, Mohsen N, Kotb M, el-Koofy N, el-Deeb N: Capillaria philippinensis a cause of fatal diarrhea in one of two infected Egyptian sisters. J Trop Pediatr. 2004, 50: 57-60. 10.1093/tropej/50.1.57.PubMedView Article
- Cross JH, Basaca-Sevilla V: Experimental transmission of Capillaria philippinensis to birds. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1983, 77: 511-514. 10.1016/0035-9203(83)90127-X.PubMedView Article
- Coordinating office of the National survey on the important parasitic diseases: A national survey on current status of the important parasiticdiseases in human population. Chin J Parasitol Parasit Dis. 2005, 23: 332-339.
- Zhu WY: A case of Paragonimiasis and Clonorchiasis caused by eating raw loach. Mod J Intergrated Trad Chin West Med. 2008, 17: 2379-
- Fan SP, Sun MF: A case of Echinostoma Hortense first found in the human body in china and morphological observation of the worm. J Harbin Med University. 1989, 23: 161-163.
- Zhang GG, Ling W, Liu DP, Chu GZ, Su WB, Mike K: Survey on the wintering waterbirds of Hainan island. Chin J Zool. 2005, 40: 80-85.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.