What is ascariasis?
Ascariasis is an infection of the small intestine caused by Ascaris lumbricoides, a species of roundworm. Roundworms are a type of parasitic worm. Infections caused by pinworms are very common. Ascariasis is the most common roundworm infection. About 10 per cent of the world’s trusted source is infected with intestinal worms.
Ascariasis is more common in modern unsanitary areas. People get parasites through unsafe food and water. The infection usually causes no symptoms, but large numbers of pinworms (heavily infested) can lead to problems in the lungs or intestines.
However, the trusted source from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that parasitic worm infections are not as common in the United States.
Ascariasis is one of the most common human parasitic infections. According to the World Health Organization, it infects more than one billion people around the world. Ascariasis is most common in children between the ages of 3 and 8 years.
Facts about ascariasis
- Ascariasis is a disease caused by a parasite called Ascaris lumbricoides.
- Ascaris lumbricoides is a large nematode (roundworm) that infects the human gastrointestinal tract; Adults are visible to the naked eye and can reach 30 centimetres long.
- Parasites cause ascariasis as they progress through their life cycle in humans.
- Risk factors for ascariasis infection include living in tropical and subtropical regions and/or eating or drinking contaminated food along with poor hygiene.
The signs and symptoms of ascariasis may include the following:
- Abdominal symptoms (discomfort, swelling, pain),
- The parasites and their eggs travel in the faeces.
Your doctor can diagnose ascariasis by detecting Ascaris lumbricoides eggs in your stool under a microscope; Other tests (eg, x-rays, ultrasound) may also be done. Oral medication for one to three days of treatment in patients without additional complications.
Primary care doctors can treat ascariasis. Patients with complications may require specialists such as infectious disease specialists, pulmonary hepatologists, and/or surgeons. There are many home remedies for ascariasis, but the patient should discuss their use with a doctor before trying these remedies.
Most complications of ascariasis are caused by G.I. in the gastrointestinal tract. Tract as a major problem; Other organs may also be affected. The prognosis for ascariasis is very good when your doctor diagnoses and treats ascariasis properly. The prognosis worsens if problems arise; Ascariasis also increases fertility in women.
Ascariasis can be prevented by avoiding contaminated food and water sources and with good hygiene and eating only hot, cooked foods while travelling. Symptoms, transmission and treatment of pinworms Roundworms, also known as nematodes, are a generic term for parasites that consist primarily of the free-living lime nematode.
Symptoms of ascariasis
In some cases, a mild infection may not cause noticeable symptoms. At other times, if the infection is more severe (large worm infestation), you may have a variety of symptoms. You are more likely to have signs of ascariasis in your lungs, lungs, and intestines.
Roundworms in your lungs can cause:
- The cough doesn’t stop
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Difficulty breathing
Roundworms in your intestine can cause:
- Abdominal pain (mild to severe)
- Diarrhea or blood in the pus
- Weight Loss
- Worms in poop or vomit
- Obstacles in your intestines
- Vascular blockages in your liver or pancreas
The massive infestation prevents children from growing at a normal rate, as they do not get many nutrients.
Some people with major seizures may have other symptoms such as fatigue and fever. A great siege can cause serious inconvenience. You may have all or more of the above symptoms if you do not receive prompt treatment.
Causes of ascariasis
Ascariasis is not spread directly from person to person. Instead, a person should be in contact with ascariasis eggs or soil contaminated with human or pig faeces that contain infected water. In some developing countries, human faeces are used as fertilizer, or the lack of adequate sanitation facilities allows human waste to mix with the soil in yards, ditches, and farms. People can also get it from eating raw chicken or pork liver.
Young children often play in the dirt, and infections can occur if they put dirty fingers in their mouths. Fruits or vegetables that are not grown in contaminated soil can also spread ascariasis eggs.
The life cycle of the worm
- Taking: Small (microscopic) ascariasis eggs are not susceptible to infection regardless of soil. Contaminated soil can be accidentally (swallowed) by people by contact with the hands through the mouth or by eating raw fruits or vegetables that have not been grown on contaminated soil.
- Immigration: The larvae hatch from the eggs in the small intestine and then travel through the intestinal wall and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the heart and lungs. After about 10 to 14 days of maturation in the lungs, the larvae enter the airways and travel down the throat, where they harden and are swallowed.
- Maturity: Once they return to the intestines, the parasites develop into male or female worms. Females are over 15 inches (40 cm) long and just under a quarter-inch (6 millimetres) in diameter. Male worms are usually small.
- Reproduction: If there are female and male worms in the intestines, the female will produce 200,000 eggs a day and the eggs will leave her body in the faeces. Fertilized eggs must remain in the soil for at least two to four weeks before infection.
The whole process, from ingesting the eggs to laying the eggs, takes two to three months. It can live inside your body for one to two years.
Who is at risk for ascariasis?
The roundworm is found throughout the world but is most common in tropical and subtropical regions, including Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. It is also common in areas with poor sanitation.
Environmental risk factors for this disease:
- Lack of modern sanitation and sanitation infrastructure
- Use of human faeces as fertilizer.
- Live or visit a tropical or subtropical climate
- Exposure to dusty environments
By avoiding dangerous food and water, you can limit your exposure to pinworms. Keeping your immediate surroundings clean also helps. These include washing clothes exposed to unsanitary conditions and thoroughly cleaning cooking surfaces.
You should be careful if you are visiting a remote area. This is important:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food.
- Boil or filter your water.
- Examine food preparation facilities.
- Avoid dirty common areas for bathing.
- Peel or cook unwashed vegetables and fruits in areas where there is no sanitation infrastructure or where human faeces are used as fertilizer.
- Children ages 3 to 8 are more likely to become infected due to contact with the ground while playing.
How is ascariasis diagnosed?
Doctors usually make a diagnosis by examining the stool sample for parasites and ovaries (eggs). If your doctor suspects you have ascariasis, he or she will ask for a stool sample.
If you are diagnosed with ascariasis, you may need more tests, such as one of these imaging tests:
- Bone scan
- Computed tomography
- Magnetic resonance
- Endoscopy, which involves using a small camera to look inside your body.
- Imaging tests can show how many worms have matured and where the main groups of worms are in the body.
To assess your risk for complications, it is important for your doctor to determine how long you have been infected.
Typically, only infections that cause symptoms need to be treated. In some cases, ascariasis will resolve on its own.
Anti-parasite medications are the first line of treatment against ascariasis. The most common are:
- Albendazole (Albenza)
- Ivermectin (Stromectol)
- These medications, taken for one to three days, kill the adult worms. Side effects include mild abdominal pain or diarrhea.
- Pregnant women may take pyrantel pamoate.
In cases of heavy infestation, surgery may be necessary to remove worms and repair the damage they’ve caused. Intestinal blockage or holes, bile duct blockage, and appendicitis are complications that may require surgery.
What are the complications of ascariasis?
Most cases of ascariasis are mild and do not cause major problems. However, a strong invasion can spread to other parts of the body and lead to dangerous complications.
- Intestinal obstruction: Intestinal obstruction occurs when the mass of worms obstructs the intestines causing severe pain and vomiting. Bowel obstruction is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.
- Duct obstruction: Vascular obstruction occurs when worms block small passageways to the liver or pancreas.
- Nutritional deficiency: Infections that cause decreased appetite and malnutrition can put children at risk for not getting enough nutrients, which can affect their growth.
Children are more likely to have gastrointestinal problems because of the small size of their intestines increases the chances of intestinal obstruction.
Prevention of ascariasis
The best defence against ascariasis is good hygiene and common sense. Follow these tips to avoid infection:
- Practice good hygiene: Before handling food, always wash your hands with soap and water. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- Use care when travelling: Use only bottled water, and avoid raw vegetables unless you can peel and wash them.