Case presentation: We recently encountered four cases of A. ceylanicum infection in Japanese individuals who returned from Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea. Case 1 was a 25-year-old male who stayed in a rainforest in Malaysia for 4 weeks, where he developed abdominal pain and diarrhea in the third week. Eleven adult worms (five males, six females) were expelled after treatment with pyrantel pamoate and identified as A. ceylanicum based on morphological characteristics and DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene. Case 2 was a 26-year-old male who spent 2 years as an overseas cooperation volunteer for agriculture in Papua New Guinea. He did not note any symptoms at that time, though eggs were detected in feces samples at a medical check-up examination after returning. Although collection of adult worms was unsuccessful, DNA analysis of the eggs for cox1 and the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-1 and ITS-2 genes demonstrated that they were A. ceylanicum. Case 3 was a 47-year-old male who spent 1 month in a rural village in Lao People's Democratic Republic and began suffering from watery diarrhea from the third week. A total of nine adult worms (three males, six females) were collected by endoscopic procedures and following treatment with pyrantel pamoate. Morphological examination and molecular analyses of the cox1 gene showed that they were A. ceylanicum. Case 4 was a 27-year-old male who participated in group travel to India for 5 days. Three weeks after returning, he developed abdominal pain and diarrhea. Hookworm eggs were found in feces samples and developed into larvae in culture, which were identified as A. ceylanicum based on molecular analysis of the cox1 gene. Eosinophilia was observed in all of the cases prior to treatment.
Conclusions: A. ceylanicum should be recognized as an important etiologic pathogen of hookworm diseases in travelers to countries in the Southeast Asia and West Pacific Ocean regions.