Doctors film microscopic worms dancing inside man's scrotum

The juvenile worms as revealed by an ultrasound scan.
The juvenile worms as revealed by an ultrasound scan. (Image credit: The New England Journal of Medicine)

A man suffering from pain and inflammation in his genitals had parasitic worms dancing inside his scrotum, and doctors caught them on video.

The man, a 26-year-old living in New Delhi, sought medical attention after experiencing pain and swelling in his testicles, along with minor fevers, for around a month. After conducting a quick ultrasound scan, doctors spotted multiple parasitic worms packed inside his scrotal skin.

Blood analysis revealed that the beasties were juvenile Wuchereria bancrofti, a type of parasitic nematode, or roundworm,  found in tropical regions and transmitted between humans through mosquito bites. The worms have life spans of up to eight years and, upon developing into adults inside human lymphatic vessels, will mate to produce millions of wriggling offspring called microfilariae. 

Related: Mind-controlling parasite turns wolves into pack leaders

These young go on to migrate around the body, causing the inflammatory disease known as lymphatic filariasis, which can result in severe swelling of the legs, arms, breasts and genitals. 

The researchers documented the discovery of the microscopic worms in a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine (opens in new tab) Dec. 8.

"The dance sign represents the undulations of live worms," the doctors wrote. "[They] have migrated into lymphatic channels, causing dilation and dysfunction of the channels."

More than 120 million people are infected by lymphatic filariasis worldwide at any given time, according to The Pan American Health Organization (opens in new tab), with 40 million disfigured or disabled by the disease. Infections tend to begin in childhood, with symptoms manifesting later in life that can lead to physical disabilities and mental, social and financial hardship such as depression, stigma and poverty.

Although in some cases surgery is needed to remove the worms, a three-week course of the antiparasitic drug diethylcarbamazine fortunately killed off the writhing body invaders in this patient's case.

Ben Turner
Staff Writer

Ben Turner is a U.K. based staff writer at Live Science. He covers physics and astronomy, among other topics like tech and climate change. He graduated from University College London with a degree in particle physics before training as a journalist. When he's not writing, Ben enjoys reading literature, playing the guitar and embarrassing himself with chess.

  • Alrino
    Happy they caught it in time and he had a good outcome!
    Reply
  • Matrix SS
    While I appreciate learning about lymphatic filariasis, that knowledge along with the video will cause me to lose my mind faster than I'm already am, let alone suicide lmao 🤣😜😜😂😂
    Reply
  • Allykitn
    Great now every man that reads this gets to recall the video of dancing worms every time they get a random itch or pain in the jewels! 😂
    Where did my husband go?
    "Babe I wanna show you something..... interesting!" 🤣🤣
    Reply
  • cjmacintosh
    admin said:
    The disease, called lymphatic filariasis, can lead to severe swelling around the body, as well as physical disabilities.

    Doctors film microscopic worms dancing inside man's scrotum : Read more
    I find it odd that we had none of these problems or even was aware of them till covid-19 vaccines started being pumped into the Sheep's arms
    Reply
  • fartknocker
    New Delhi? Shocker! 🙄
    Reply