A comprehensive overview of roundworm covering subjects like cure, treatment, symptoms, diagnostics, research, causes and pictures
The roundworm parasite is a cylindrical worm which causes an infection. The infection usually does not cause any symptoms but can cause fever, coughing and wheezing, followed by abdominal cramps. In severe cases, children may have impaired stature-weight, or the roundworm parasites can block the intestine, causing severe pain and vomiting.
Roundworm parasites are the most common cylindrical worm infection, affecting over 1 billion persons. It is widespread in areas with faulty sanitary hygiene, tropical and subtropical areas.
Infection begins with ingestion of the roundworm parasite eggs, often through contaminated food. These are becoming contaminated in contact with soil, full of eggs from human or animal feces. Eggs are very resistant to environmental conditions, and can withstand the ground up to several years.
Once ingested, eggs hatch and release larvae in intestine .Each one migrate through the intestinal wall and penetrate into lymphatic and blood vessels until reach the lungs. From the alveolar sacs pass into the bronchi, larynx and then they are re-swallowed into the digestive system. It will mature in the small intestine and live as an adult worm.
Many people are asymptomatic or have a cough, fever; expectoration of sputum tract during larval respiratory passage. A number of intestinal roundworm parasites can cause abdominal cramps, and occasional intestinal obstruction with vomiting, nausea, dizziness.
Causes and pathogenesis
The roundworm parasite is the largest cylindrical worm of nematodes, which are found in people and animals. Adults are white or yellowish, with a length of 15-35 cm. 10 to 24 months they are living in the jejunum and small intestine. Every day a female roundworm produces 240,000 eggs that are fertilized by males. Fertilized eggs are eliminated with feces on the ground, and become infective in 5-10 days. They can remain viable in soil up to 17 months. The infection is transmitted by fecal-oral route and through contaminated food.
After being ingested, eggs hatch and cross the intestinal wall, passing into the lymphatic circulation and blood reaching the lungs in the larval state. The cycle takes 1-2 months, and can cause pneumonia. Second stage of the migration involves expectoration of the larvae and re-swallowing them. Larvae reached the intestine again, will mature here, will lay eggs and be eliminated through stool or mouth.
Adult roundworm parasites feed by-products of digestion of the host. Worms multiply in the host muscles, they live up to two years; for the infection to persist is a need for a reinfection with eggs on the ground. Is the most common worm infection and is due to poor hygiene and contact with human feces (especially those used as fertilizer) or ingestion of food contaminated with eggs of this worm.
The eggs break into the intestine and the larvae migrate to the lungs, airways and back out through the stomach and intestine. During migration, in the lungs, the larvae can cause pneumonia known as Pneumocystis eosinophilia. Returned to the intestine, the larvae mature and adult worms remain in the intestine and then lay eggs which are found in the stool.
Some symptoms may appear if there are roundworm parasites: stool or vomit that contain them, coughing, interrupted breathing, stomach pain, itchy skin, mild fever. But you can not see any symptoms.
Treatment includes drugs that kill intestinal parasites such as Albendazole or mebendazole. If there is a blockage in the intestinal but due to the large number of worms, another medication can be prescribed to eliminate them.
Most of those infected can be cured without treatment, but sometimes complications may occur if adult worms travel at certain organs or are too many blocking the intestinal tract.
Maintaining a proper hygiene can reduce the risk of infection than with roundworm parasites.