Man suffers from severely swollen penis for 17 YEARS due to silent infection with worms

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Author: Connor Boyd For
Published: 11:35 EDT, 7 May 2024
Updated: 12:06 EDT, 7 May 2024

A man who endured highly embarrassing symptoms silently has finally been cured after a surprising diagnosis. The 72-year-old man had been living with a severely swollen penis for 17 years, leading to the organ appearing partially erect constantly, along with a swollen scrotum and left leg.

The unidentified patient was discovered to have an infection with numerous live, microscopic worms causing chronic inflammation around his groin area. He resided in Switzerland but had moved from Zimbabwe two decades earlier, where such infections are more prevalent.

A man in Switzerland lived for 17 years with a severely swollen penis due to parasitic worms (stock image)

A man in Switzerland lived for 17 years with a severely swollen penis due to parasitic worms (stock image)

The individual received anti-parasitic medication, and within two months of completing the treatment, his symptoms completely disappeared. This case was documented in a report in the New England Journal of Medicine by doctors at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

When the patient visited them, his inflammation levels were alarmingly twice the normal range, indicating a severe infection. Subsequent tests confirmed the presence of Wuchereria bancrofti, which are thread-like worms that are microscopic in nature.

Infections occur through mosquito bites, which introduce the larvae into the bloodstream. The larvae then navigate to the lymph system, a network used for fluid drainage, and from there, they travel to various body parts, including the scrotum. The worms mature, reproduce, and generate millions of offspring.

The patient from Zimbabwe was prescribed diethylcarbamazine and a single dose of albendazole, potent anti-parasitic drugs that effectively eliminate the worms. After completing the treatment, he showed no symptoms and tested negative for the parasites.

Parasitic worm infections are common in tropical and subtropical regions like parts of Africa, Asia, and South America but are absent in the US and UK. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals must experience multiple mosquito bites over several months to contract the infection.

Typically, these worms do not exhibit any symptoms, but in some cases, damage to the lymph system can lead to fluid buildup in the legs, resulting in lymphedema. Severe swelling of limbs can cause elephantiasis in affected individuals. In men, the parasitic worms can instigate swelling in the genital area, which can become severe enough to cause disfigurement and mobility issues.

It is estimated that there are around 100 million active worm infections globally, with the majority of infected individuals residing in sub-Saharan Africa.

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