Hookworm disease

Hookworm Disease: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Hookworm is a parasitic intestinal infection, a disease resulting from infestation with hookworms and usually marked by abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and anemia.Alternative Name: Uncinariasis, ancylostomiasis, necatoriasis.Hookworm DiseaseHookworm disease is caused by two nematodes (roundworm), the old world hookworm, Ancylostoma duodenale, and the New World hookworm, Necator americanus. Of these the former is common in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.A. Both are about 10 mm long with a set of hooks or sucker devices, which allow them to attach firmly to intestine. Hookworm larvae do best in loose soil that contains plenty of organic material. They do not do well in dry sandy soils, or soils that contain a lot of clay, and they do not develop at temperatures below about 17 degrees Celsius.Humans acquire hookworm infection when larvae in contaminated soil penetrate skin, or when animal flesh containing larvae is eaten without thorough cooking. When human skin comes in contact with live hookworm larvae in soil, the larvae penetrate the skin and start to migrate. If there are a lot of them, there may be a skin reaction and inflammation where they penetrate the blood vessels. The body's immune system causes this inflammation as it tries to kill the larvae. Hookworm infection may end at this stage, if the immune system is successful. Larvae that survive get carried off to the heart and lungs. In the lungs, large numbers of larvae can cause the first serious sign of hookworm disease. From the lungs, the larvae travel up the windpipe to the throat and then down through the stomach to the intestine, where they grow to adult worms. At this stage, they may cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.Hookworm disease is widespread in the moist tropics and subtropics, and it affects over 1 billion people worldwide. Human hookworm infection is the leading cause of anemia and undernutrition and the second most important parasitic infection of humans.Risk factors include inadequate sanitation, the absence of concrete floors in home dwellings, and lack of access to essential medicines.Symptoms Include:Common symptoms Include:Cough. Many people with hookworm infection do not have symptoms. However at the start of infection, an itchy, red, raised rash may develop where the larvae penetrate the skin. The movement of the larvae through the lungs can cause fever, coughing, and wheezing. When adult worms first attach in the intestine, they can cause pain in the upper abdomen, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss. Over time, anemia develops as blood is lost and people become iron deficient.Diagnosis:Diagnosis: Is accomplished readily via the fecal flotation technique. A stool sample is examined under a microscope for hookworm eggs. Counting the eggs in a specific amount of feces allows the healthcare provider to estimate the severity of the infection.Other tests Include:Complete blood count with differential.
  • Stool ova and parasites exam.
Treatment Include:The goals of treatment are to:Cure the infection.
  • Treat complications of anemia.
  • Improve nutrition.
Once you have been diagnosed with hookworm disease, your healthcare provider may prescribe parasite-killing medications such as mebendazole, albendazole, or pyrantel pamoate (under US Pharmacopoeia) or Pyrantel Embonate (under European Pharmacopoeia). You might also be given an iron supplement with this treatment. The doctor will likely recommend increasing the amount of protein in your diet.After treatment, a person's stool should be check again for hookworm infection. If eggs are still present, treatment should be repeated.Preventing hookworm disease involves improving sanitation and avoiding contact with soil in areas with high rates of hookworm infection. Children should be required to wear shoes when playing outside in such areas and people who are gardening should wear gloves.Disclaimer: The following tests, drugs and medications, surgical procedures are in some way related to, or used in the treatment. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. 

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