December 14, 2009

Symptoms of Ascariasis

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Ascariasis is an infection caused by a parasite. This infection occurs in the intestines and is caused by the roundworm. Asciariasis is one of the most common infections caused by parasitic worms. Although the prevalence is quite varied all over the world, it has been seen that the western countries report less incidence of this infection. This infection is common in areas where hygiene is low and there is over crowding. Usually the severity of this infection depends on the number of worms present in the body. When younger children are infected, they develop gastrointestinal conditions due to these worms. In adults, however, gastrointestinal implications are rare.

When there is mild infestation, the symptoms are also mild. There may be occasional appearance of worms in the stool. If the number of worms in the intestines is more, these can also appear in cough and sputum. There is a severe loss of appetite accompanied with mild fever. A person may also experience wheezing. If the infection is severe, the signs are more severe. There can be incessant vomiting. The victim feels fatigued and is frequently short of breath. There might also be a severe pain in the abdomen. Examination by the doctor may show blockage in the intestines and biliary tract.

This infection is usually caused when the eggs of this roundworm are ingested. Usually this worm is present in the feces and the soil. When these eggs are accidentally ingested through contaminated food, they reach the intestines and hatch. These roundworms are pretty large and may be of a length of 6 to 14 inches. These worms have a long life and are usually as thick as a pencil. These eggs that are ingested hatch and larvae are released. As soon as they are hatched, these larvae pass through the walls of the intestines to reach the lungs. Even when they are on their way to the lungs, the initial symptoms begin to appear. There is incessant coughing, and sometimes, worms may appear in the cough.

These larvae usually reach the throat, and if they are not coughed up on their own, they are swallowed with the food and taken back to the intestines. Once back in the intestines, the larvae feed on the ingested food and grow. When they are fully grown, these worms mate and lay more eggs. These worms attain maturity in about two months and have the capacity to produce 240,000 eggs in one go. Some of these eggs are discharged with the feces and from there, are passed on. To prevent this infection, it is important to maintain personal hygiene and keep your surroundings clean. Raw foods should be washed thoroughly before cooking or consuming.