ASCARIASIS - Overview , Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis
ASCARIASIS

ASCARIASIS

Ascariasis is an infection caused by a roundworm called Ascaris Lumbricoides. It affects the small intestine and is known to be the most common type of roundworm infection. 

The infection happens when the roundworms use the body as a host to mature larvae into adult worms. It takes them two to three months to grow up to 30 centimeters long. Additionally, adult worms can reproduce inside the body, and they can stay inside the body for about a year or two. 

This infection commonly occurs in children living in tropical and subtropical regions. Higher rates of this infection are recorded in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation

SYMPTOMS

Most cases of this infection are mild and may not exhibit symptoms. However, a heavy infestation can lead to serious symptoms that affect the lungs and the intestines. Symptoms of ascariasis may include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Vague abdominal pain that may become severe when heavily infested
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and Bloody stools
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

DIAGNOSIS

To diagnose ascariasis, the doctor will need to review your symptoms. The doctor will also ask questions about your surroundings or other possible factors that caused the infection.

Finding worms in your vomit or stool is a sign of heavy infestation. Hence, you can take the worm and bring it to the doctor for inspection.

Several tests will also be conducted during the diagnosis. These tests may include:

  • Stool tests. Eggs may be found on the stool. However, they may not appear until at least 40 days after you were infected. However, eggs will not be in your stool if there are no female worms in your body.
  • Blood tests. The white blood cell called eosinophils elevates when the body is infected with ascariasis.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays, Ultrasounds, and CT scans can detect and reveal worms in your body and see if they are blocking the ducts in the liver or pancreas.

TREATMENT

The first treatment done for this infection are anti-parasite medications such as Albendazole, Ivermectin, and Mebendazole. However, for cases of heavy infestation, surgery is required to remove the worms and repair the damage they have caused.

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