Parasitic worms are all over the world. In May 2009, the Guizhou Province's Disease Control Department discovered that nearly 16 million people in a single Chinese province had parasitic worms that caused hemorrhaging, bacterial infections and even lung inflammation. Elementary and middle school children were the most often affected, according to the disease control experts. The "Galveston County Daily News" in Texas recently gave parents tips on protecting their children and households from parasitic worms. During the summer months, worms are on the rise; the 2 most common are giardiasis and threadworms. The giardiasis prefers to make its home in kiddie pools before invading the body of a child and attaching itself to the intestinal lining. The 2nd worm that the "Galveston County Daily News" warned against was the threadworm.
The History of Threadworms
Threadworms have been around for centuries. Karl Reinhard, an anthropologist at the University of Nebraska, has spent years studying human fossilised faeces and has determined that the threadworm problem is something that has been passed from generation to generation. Just like the common cold or flu, threadworms continue to be a problem for many. Getting a threadworm infection is almost as easy as catching a cold. Many families are embarrassed by threadworm infections, but contracting the parasites is actually common in families with school-age children. Because threadworms are incredibly contagious, when 1 person is infected, usually the entire household becomes infected as well. A person can get infected by simply coming in contact with someone who has threadworms or an infected surface. Children are most susceptible to the infection, due to a greater inattention to proper hygiene. It is easy to be exposed to threadworms in school settings.
In the United States, threadworms are the most common parasitic worm, and it affects millions of people. The parasite is also commonly referred to as a "pinworm" or "seat worm." Although the worm has a reputation for affecting little children who don't properly wash their hands, adults are just as susceptible to the parasite. The Centers for Disease Control found high levels of parasitic worms in wastewater which confirmed misconceptions that threadworms only affect children.
Someone recovering from an infestation should clean everything in his home. The key to eliminating the parasite is to get rid of the eggs. Eggs can be transferred to different surfaces including bed sheets, toilet seats, bathtubs, doorknobs and other places routinely touched by the hands or buttocks. Washing linens and disinfecting the bathroom areas is important. If left to their own devices, threadworm eggs can survive outside of the body for up to 3 weeks. There are several anti-pinworm drugs that can be taken to kill threadworms; the 2 most common are Albenza and Vermox. It's important to know that although these medications kill the threadworms more than 90 per cent of the time; they do not kill the eggs. Re-infestation can occur until everything is dead. Normally, doctors advise patients to get treated again after 2 weeks have passed.
Threadworm Symptoms Can Go Unnoticed
Because threadworms have the ability to go unnoticed many individuals suffer from threadworms for years. The lifespan of the worms can last for decades and reinfections can occur quite easily. Individuals who are constantly infected with threadworms suffer from what is known as "retroinfection." One of the best ways to reduce retroinfection is to resist the urge to scratch the infected area. Scratching the infected area contaminates the fingernails and starts the spread of the worms all over again. Retroinfection also occurs because the medication that is used to treat the individual only kills the threadworms; the eggs are left unharmed.
A study conducted by Howard Hughes Medical Institute discovered that a steroid-hormone substance called dafachronic acid could be the key to eliminating or at least significantly reducing threadworm infections. Dafachronic acid is used to manipulate the worm's life cycle and trick the worm into thinking it is already living in a host before it actually infects someone. Researchers are still searching for ways to eliminate the age-old problem of threadworms. Until then, staying clean and vigilant is the only way to reduce the possibility of infection.