Snail poisoning causes hallucinations
Type of Spiritual Experience
Toxocara canis (also known as dog roundworm) is worldwide-distributed helminth parasite of dogs and other canids.
Eosinophilia is a condition in which the eosinophil count in the peripheral blood exceeds 0.45×109/L (450/μl). Eosinophils usually account for less than 7% of the circulating leukocytes. A marked increase in non-blood tissue eosinophil count noticed upon histopathologic examination is diagnostic for tissue eosinophilia. Several causes are known, with the most common being some form of allergic reaction or parasitosis
A description of the experience
Infection 2013 Jun;41(3):691-4. doi: 10.1007/s15010-012-0342-6. Epub 2012 Sep 21. Toxocara encephalitis presenting with autonomous nervous system involvement. Caldera F, Burlone ME, Genchi C, Pirisi M, Bartoli E.
Human toxocariasis has been reported to cause a broad spectrum of neurological syndromes, including encephalitis, meningitis and meningo-radiculitis. Nevertheless, cerebral infection by Toxocara may go undiagnosed due to its rarity, elusive symptoms and lack of availability of appropriate testing.
We report the case of a 54-year-old man who presented with abdominal pain and paralytic ileus approximately 3 weeks after having eaten raw snails (a folk remedy for peptic ulcer).
Three weeks later, marked eosinophilia ensued, associated with mental clouding, nystagmus, diplopia, peripheral limbs ataxia, urinary retention, slackened deep tendon reflexes, arthralgias and myalgias. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination demonstrated an eosinophilic meningitis, and Toxocara canis cerebral infection was diagnosed by positive serology and by the detection of T. canis DNA in the CSF.
The patient made a full recovery following treatment with albendazole and corticosteroids. Physicians should be aware of this rare presentation of toxocariasis, whose diagnosis is, today, facilitated by molecular biology techniques. A history of ingestion of raw snails may alert the clinician to consider the possibility of such an uncommon condition.