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FAQs about Pet-fishing & Human Health: Trouble, Fixing 

Related Articles: Wounds ArticlesMoray Eels Bite, But Are They Venomous? by Marco Lichtenberger,

Related FAQs:  Petfishing and Human Health 1Petfish & Health 2, Petfishing & Human Health 3, & FAQs on: Petfishing Concerns: Getting Poked, Spined, Stuck, Envenomized (injected), Bitten, Poisoning (ingesting), Skin et al. Contact, Companion Animal Involvement, Bacterial Infections, Parasitic Cross Zoonoses, Turn About's Fair Play... & Stingrays


He's Got Worms Under His Skin (3/7/04)   Dear Sir: <Steve Allen this AM.>   Can you help me identify these?  I found similar ones on www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/~parasites under 'Anchor worm'. <The link does not work for me and you did not attach a picture.>   These red ones came out of my right leg and the large T-shape in 2nd picture <no picture received.>  came from my right arm. <Yuck!>  I dropped my cell phone in a Koi pond. I already had existing sores from a parasite.  My 6-year old is showing the same signs. The smaller ones in 2nd picture are from her stool. <Again, no picture. Odd that she would have aquatic worms in her stools. Did she swallow some pond water? Pinworms are very common in kids in the US. Where do you live. Ascaris worms are a big problem worldwide, but seldom seen here.>  Any help would be appreciated. <Very simple advice John: You and your daughter need to see a doctor this week! Call first thing tomorrow and get an appointment right away! Do not delay any longer! Bring pictures or actual worms with you. If your daughter still has worms in her stool, take a sample with you in a clean Zip-Loc bag. It will hasten her diagnosis & treatment.>  Thank you, John D. Day Dera <You're welcome. I hope that medical treatment swiftly rids you of these parasites and any attendant secondary bacterial infection.>

Parasite Follow-Up (3/7/04) Thank you all for replying to my e-mail.  I personally have seen about 16 Drs ...  Are we having fun yet? Thanks again for replying <John: For brevity and to spare the squeamish, I have omitted your extensive narrative of your saga from this reply. No pix came through. If they're too big, they don't get to us. All pics need to be compressed down to a manageable size of no more than a few hundred KB. As for your long battle with this health problem for you and your daughter, I really don't have anything worthwhile to add. You are already seeking help from some of the best docs around. I feel badly for the two of you. I certainly hope that you get to the bottom of this soon and are both restored to normal health rapidly. Steve Allen.>

Re: parasites? Bob: Check this out. I told him there's not any more help we can offer via WWM. His pix didn't come through. I feel bad for this guy, but he needs to work it through with the many doctors he's seen. I omitted the details of hi long narrative from my posted reply. Steve <Very strange... to the point of frightening. I would have this person go immediately to the "zootic disease" part of the CDC for thorough diagnoses... there is no such thing as "anchor worm" disease (a Branchiuran) of humans... and the mix of roundworms and complaints listed....? Bob F>

Health Concerns (3/17/04)   Hi Crew, <Steve Allen tonight>   I wish to thank you for your help in the past with my evolving for tank into a full blown reef system. <We are always glad to help.> Through browsing your site I came across the sections regarding bacterial and viral infections which could possibly be passed from tank/animals to humans, especially regarding the "various respiratory ailments" mentioned.   Tank specifications are:- 230G marine FOWLR evolving slowly to  reef. (I do siphon water out by mouth for the record) <Many people do. I'd suggest spit & rinse right away after, maybe even with Listerine, but I'm paranoid.>   I'll try to cut a long story short. 1yr 5 mths ago I had what I though was a minor throat infection, the symptoms being a very dry throat and later in the weeks that followed, the feeling of a golf ball sized lump in my throat, bellow the "Adams apple" area. All very frightening until one morning at 2am I found I could hardly breath. I asked my wife to drive me to the hospital ER unit which she did. I was sent home with the diagnosis that I had a sore throat !!!........That's another story!   Later that day I went back to the hospital and was immediately admitted and put on antibiotics IV. The resultant diagnosis was "Epiglotitis" (a swelling of the vocal  chords <actually, its the epiglottis, the lid that prevents food from going down the trachea>) which can be very serious indeed. <Scary disease, can be fatal. Many young children used to get this from Haemophilus influenza B (Hib). Thankfully there's been a great vaccine available for more than a decade. As a pediatrician, I have not seen a childhood case in 10 years. It is rare in adults, but can be caused by other pathogens. I almost lost an adult cousin to it.> This all came with hundreds upon hundreds of tiny (but fairly painless) ulcers which completely coated my mouth and throat. <Definitely not Hib.> They tested for cancer and all else but had no idea where this had come from........They were completely at a loss, had no idea. Until, somebody asked "Do you keep any unusual pets"?..............Well the answer was yes and still they were none the wiser.   My question to you my good friends is, have you ever heard of anything even remotely like this before? I am really struggling to get anywhere with this as I am still suffering from the lump in the throat and the very dry throat. This is over a year now and although it comes and goes it is still of some concern. <Understandable. I trust you have seen an ENT specialist and had a laryngoscopy and perhaps an MRI. I am not aware of anything from your tank that would likely cause such a thing, unless you have some known toxic fish or invert in there. With your problem, I would certainly advise not starting siphon by mouth, just to be safer. Since no infectious pathogen was isolated and you are still having problems, I'd suspect it is some sort of allergic/inflammatory reaction to an irritant or toxin that you are inhaling from somewhere. Do you get hives ever? Wheezing or asthma symptoms? Do you work with hazardous materials in your job? It might be worth consulting an allergist or an environmental physician.>   Any help at all you may be able to offer will be very much appreciated With much gratitude. <You're welcome. I hope this helps a bit. I suggest you continue to work with your doctors on this one. I hope this problem is solved for you soon.> Simon

Health Concerns 2 (3/17/04) Many, many thanks for your quick reply. <You're welcome.> Yes I realize the swelling is the epiglottis but for general purposes some people may not know where ones epiglottis is ;-) I have seen the ENT specialist and she had several looks at the state of the epiglottis which was indeed very bad and according to her if I had left it any longer I would not be here now! <Good thing you went in>.> What is really puzzling me is the fact that they cannot decide whether it is bacterial or viral? I would have thought if it were viral then IV antibiotics would not have helped much but they did reduce the swelling a great deal. <Bacterial diseases are diagnosed by culturing bacteria from the infected area. Sometimes we are unable to get anything to grow in culture even when it is there. The fact that antibiotics helped suggest there was some bacterium involved because, as you obviously know, antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Specific viruses are more difficult to diagnose unless there is a specific, unique syndrome such as chicken pox. We often fail to get a definitive diagnosis in viral infections.>   I am not presently suffering from any more of the hundreds of little ulcers, have not had those for a year now so am just concerned about the lump and the dryness in the throat. Never had Hives. I do not work with any hazardous materials. Have had several laryngoscopies. No asthma, no wheezing. <I just noticed you hail from the UK. It sounds like you NHS specialists are being thorough.>   Thank you so much for your prompt reply. This has reiterated my own concerns ie the problem could be "environmental" but I do have to get to the bottom of this. <Yes. I hope you do soon.> Again if you hear of or find out anyone else has suffered anything similar would you be kind enough to let me know. <Do consider posting this dilemma on the forum at www.wetwebmedia.com  The forum "Zo's Bar & Grill" is read by a lot of our users and if any o them have any ideas, they'll chime in.> Cheers.........Simon <I hope you are restored to full health soon. Steve Allen.>

Another Reason to Wear Gloves (9/12/04) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I have had a reef tank for about a year. It is thriving. I recently set up a 2nd tank for a friend following the same procedures I used on the first tank. The new tank has live sand, well cured live rock, 3 mushrooms, a couple different polyps, a hammer head frag from the first tank, and an Alveopora also from the first tank. There is also a lawnmower blenny, snails, hermit crabs, sand star, sea serpent star, a royal Gramma, bicolor Dottyback, and an orange spotted shrimp goby. All inhabitants are doing well and have been in there for over a month. There were two clown fish in there but they both died. The water tests perfectly. Additives and food include all in one, Kent Iodine, Sea Lab block, Marine Deluxe, Zooplex, BioPlankton, Formula One (frozen), and silver sides. The question is that I have painful and swollen fingers. After about a week of this condition I went to the doctor and told her I had a reef tank. She could find no other reason for the injury and put me on antibiotics (Cipro). <I'm not certain that this covers Mycobacterium marinum, which could be the source of your problem. Read more about this in the wound FAQs. You might have your doctor look for recent articles (appeared this year) about this in Annals of Internal Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine. I believe I previously left references on the wound FAQ page.> I am seeing no change in the condition and am wondering if you have heard or experienced anything like this and what can be done about it. I have been doing some research and ran across something called mycobacterium marinum. <Yup, as above.> Some of what I am reading sounds like hand infections can turn into a very serious problem. I am wondering if this is common in the aquarium industry and what people do about it. <Yes. Smart people wear gloves (long armed-ones are available at local or online fish stores) to prevent it. The rest of us hope we never get it. I can't claim to be among those who use gloves all the time, but I try to remember. ;) It's like using a condom some or "most" of the time--sooner or later something undesirable happens. It is also possible that this is a local allergic or toxic reaction to coral venom (also preventable with gloves), in which case an OTC antihistamine like Claritin might help, but you need to consult your doctor before taking this. Sounds like you need to go back right away if the Cipro hasn't helped.> Both tanks are very clean and meticulously maintained weekly by myself as well as a service technician from my LFS. <This is no protection. Even a "clean" tank is a veritable cesspool of germs. Remember, your animals pee and poop (sorry, pediatrician talk) in it all the time, Would you stick your bare hand in a "clean" toilet bowl? I think not.> I would appreciate any advice you may have. <My primary advice is to go back to the doc and be sure to mention M. marinum and coral venom.> Thanks. <I hope this helps and I certainly hope your hands return to normal quickly and uneventfully.>

Toxic corals? 9/30/04 Hi please I need help, I am very confused, all corals are toxic right? <hmmm... depends on your perspective/meaning: regarding filter feeding? (stinging nature of Cnidarian animals)... regarding allelopathy (chemical warfare against encroaching organisms)... poisonous nature if ingested or harassed?? what corals are more toxic?, what corals are less toxic?,   <variable as you might guess... and as per the above definitions> can a coral kill a human really?, <yes... more than a few can. Notably... palytoxin in Zoanthids. A historical use by Hawaiian natives, et al when tipping spears for mortal combat> I wont full my aquarium with corals, but I don't wont go to the hospital or die, please help me, what corals you know not are dangerous?, thanks you. <this is a small concern with good husbandry/handling... really. No worries with careful and proper handling as you do household chemicals, medications, fumous agents at work/home, etc. Anthony>

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