Brief Summary

Angiostrongylus (Parastrongylus) costaricensis is a nematode (roundworm) that is the causal agent of abdominal, or intestinal, angiostrongyliasis. The eosinophilic enteritis caused by these worms in humans involves an eosinophilic inflammation of the mesenteric arterioles of the ileocecal region of the gastrointestinal tract and can resemble appendicitis. Humans are accidental hosts for these parasites. Abdominal angiostrongyliasis has been reported from Costa Rica, and occurs most commonly in young children. Angiostrongylus costaricensis is common in parts of Central and South America. Angiostrongylus costaricensis is a close relative of A. cantonensis, which is the most common cause of human eosinophilic meningitis, a condition known mainly from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin, although the infection is spreading to many other areas of the world, including Africa and the Caribbean,

Adult A. costaricensis live in the arterioles of the ileocecal area of rats. The females lay eggs that hatch, yielding first-stage larvae, in the ileum. The first-stage larvae migrate to the pharynx, are swallowed, and pass in the feces. They penetrate, or are ingested by, an intermediate host (snail or slug). After two molts, third-stage larvae are produced, which are infective to mammalian hosts. When the mollusk is ingested by the definitive host, the third-stage larvae migrate to the brain where they develop into young adults. The young adults return to the venous system and then to the arterioles of the ileocecal area, where they become sexually mature. A variety of animals can act as paratenic (transport) hosts: after ingesting the infected snails, they carry the third-stage larvae, which can resume their development when the paratenic host is ingested by a definitive host. Humans can acquire the infection by eating raw or undercooked snails or slugs infected with the parasite; they may also acquire the infection by eating raw produce that contains a small snail or slug, or part of one. There is some question whether or not larvae can exit the infected mollusks in slime (which might be infective to humans if ingested, for example, on produce). The disease can also be acquired by ingestion of contaminated or infected paratenic animals (crabs, freshwater shrimps). In humans, juvenile worms migrate to the brain, or rarely to the lungs, where they ultimately die.

In humans, A. costaricensis often reach sexual maturity and release eggs into the intestinal tissues. The eggs and larvae degenerate, causing intense local inflammatory reactions, and do not appear to be shed in the stool.

(Centers for Disease Control Parasites and Health website)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Angiostrongylus costaricensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.

No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Angiostrongylus costaricensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Angiostrongylus costaricensis

Angiostrongylus costaricensis is a parasitic nematode.

Its distribution include Brazil.[1]


Humans and rodents are the definitive hosts. Main rodent host is the Cotton Rat.

Mollusc are the intermediate host and are infected through ingestion or penetration of the foot by L1 infective larvae from infected feces.


Pathology is due to both the adults and the eggs. Adults in the ileo-caecal arterioles cause an inflammatory (eosinophilic) response in humans. In the Cotton rat the adult worms cause local haemorrhages.

The intestinal wall is also affected. In humans there is a thickening of the intestinal wall (ileum, appendix and caecum). In rats with heavy infestations there is a yellow discolouring of the serial surface of the intestinal walls.

Clinical signs and diagnosis[edit]

Abdominal pain which presents as a palpable mass on clinical examination. Anorexia Diarrhoea Vommiting

In the blood and tissue biopsy there is eosinophillia. Other ways for diagnosis from a biopsy are eggs and larvae in the blood vessels. Imaging go the liver and intestine can also be helpful. Serology is sometimes used to diagnose from a blood sample and there are specific ELISA.



  1. ^ a b Teixeira, Carlos Graeff; Thiengo, Silvana C.; Thome, José Willibaldo; Medeiros, Aline Bueno; Camillo-Coura, Lea; Agostini, Aventino A. (1993). "On the diversity of mollusc intermediate hosts of Angiostrongylus costaricensis Morera & Cespedes, 1971 in southern Brazil". Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 88 (3): 487–9. doi:10.1590/S0074-02761993000300020. PMID 8107609. 
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