Saturday, September 29, 2007

Common Name: Giant Intestinal Roundworm

Ascaris lumbricoides
Host: Humans
Portal of Entry: Mouth
Mode of Transmission: Ingestion of egg through contaminated food
Habitat: Small intestine
Size of Specimen: 6.5 inches
Prevalence: 1.5 billion people worldwide, primary in Asia and Africa, but areas of the US, specifically the Gulf Coast are endemic. This includes a little town north of Lake City where the above specimen was happily living in a 3 year old.
Description of Disease: Ascariasis is a human disease caused by the parasitic roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides. Perhaps as many as one quarter of the world's people are infected, and ascariasis is particularly prevalent in tropical climates and in areas of poor hygiene. Infection occurs through ingestion of food contaminated with fecal matter containing Ascaris eggs. The larvae hatch, burrow through the intestine, reach the lungs, and finally migrate up the respiratory tract. From there they are then reswallowed and mature in the intestine, growing up to 12 inches in length and anchoring themselves to the intestinal wall. Infections are usually asymptomatic, especially if the number of worms is small. They may however be accompanied by inflammation, fever and diarrhea, and serious problems may develop if the worms migrate to other parts of the body.
Treatment: Mebendazole
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