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December 2, 1983

The Question of a Helminthic Cause of Preeclampsia

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases (Dr Richards and Ms Wilson), and the Division of Reproductive Health, Center for Health Promotion and Education (Dr Grimes), Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1983;250(21):2970-2972. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340210068030

Two recent reports have suggested that wormlike structures characteristic of helminths are associated with preeclampsia. We identified these vermiform structures in toluidine blue O-stained venous blood smears from four women with preeclampsia, cord blood taken at delivery of three of their neonates, and venous blood from five control subjects without preeclampsia and from five healthy beagle dogs. The structures, which had diameters between 30 and 670 μm, could not be concentrated by passing the blood through a 12-μm filter, yet they could be demonstrated in stained smears prepared from blood that had been filtered. We conclude that these structures are not helminths; they are most likely artifacts of staining.

(JAMA 1983;250:2970-2972)