What is Roundworm Infections ?
Roundworm infections, also known as ascariasis, are a type of parasitic worm infection caused by the Ascaris lumbricoides worm. Roundworms are common in areas with poor sanitation and are transmitted through contaminated food or soil. The adult worms live in the small intestine and can lay thousands of eggs that are passed in the feces and can contaminate the soil.
What are The Symptoms of Roundworm Infections ?
Symptoms of roundworm infections can range from mild to severe and may include:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
In severe cases, roundworms can cause blockages in the intestine, appendix, or bile duct, and may even migrate to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs, causing further complications.
Roundworm infections are typically treated with anthelmintic drugs, such as albendazole, mebendazole, or pyrantel pamoate, which kill or disable the worms and cause them to be expelled from the body. Good hygiene practices, such as washing hands thoroughly and avoiding contaminated food and water, can help prevent roundworm infections.
What are The Causes of Roundworm Infections ?
Roundworm infections are caused by the Ascaris lumbricoides worm, a type of parasite that lives in the intestines of infected people. The infection is acquired through contaminated food, soil, or hands that come into contact with the eggs of the parasite. The eggs hatch in the intestine, and the larvae migrate to the lungs, where they mature and then return to the intestine to mature into adult worms.
Roundworm infections are more common in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene, where there is a high risk of contaminated food and water. Other risk factors include:
- Poor hygiene practices, such as not washing hands thoroughly after using the toilet or before eating
- Eating raw or undercooked food that may be contaminated with roundworm eggs
- Living in areas with high levels of soil or food contamination with roundworm eggs
- Poor access to clean water and sanitation facilities
- Poor nutritional status, which can increase the risk of infection and complications.
By practicing good hygiene, avoiding contaminated food and water, and using proper sanitation facilities, people can reduce their risk of roundworm infections.
How to Diagnose Roundworm Infections ?
Roundworm infections can be diagnosed through a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory tests, including:
- Stool sample examination: A stool sample can be examined under a microscope to look for the presence of roundworm eggs or adult worms.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can check for anemia and other signs of a roundworm infection, such as elevated eosinophil counts, a type of white blood cell that increases in response to parasite infections.
- Imaging studies: X-rays or ultrasound scans may be used to visualize the adult worms in the intestine or other parts of the body.
- Bronchoscopy: A bronchoscopy may be performed to visualize the larvae in the lungs and diagnose a lung infection.
It is important to see a healthcare provider if you experience symptoms of a roundworm infection, so that an accurate diagnosis can be made in terms of anti-parasitic medicines like Covimectin (Ivermectin) or appropriate treatment can be given. The healthcare provider will consider the individual’s medical history, symptoms, and test results to diagnose the infection.