Tests for worms in humans

Written by russell huebsch
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Tests for worms in humans
Worms usually infest the intestine. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic)

Worm infestations are one of the most common conditions in the world and can cause just about any symptom imaginable. People can get worms from taking a bath to eating, and some worms are light enough to float in air. Most of the tests for worms in humans are not expensive, but some of the more troublesome worms can require invasive procedures to diagnose and surgery to remove.

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Identification

Worms, sometimes called nematodes and roundworms, are a very common parasite that usually infects the intestine, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Several different tests for worms exist due to the many kinds of worms in the world, which can grow as big as a meter or as small as a millimetre. Signs of worms range from itchiness to vomiting and fatigue.

Function

The first test for worms in humans will attempt to identify if the person has the typical signs of infestation of any species of worm, often noticed by the patient, according to the Mayo Clinic. A second, more invasive test is performed by the doctor who looks at a biopsy or sample under a microscope. Once identified by testing, the doctor can then prescribe medication for the specific kind of worm.

Types

While several types of tests for worms in humans are available, the most common test uses tape around the anus to acquire a sample, which is then removed and studied under a microscope, according to Maryland Medical Center. For larger worms that pass through the body, the patient can bring a sample in to the doctor. Other common diagnoses include testing the blood, stool or taking a muscle biopsy.

Causes

People living in warm or tropical areas are more susceptible to worm parasites and are more likely to receive a test for worms when they display any symptoms of a worm infestation, reports Maryland Medical Center. Meat products are another common way for worms to enter the body. Pork products are the most common source of infected meat, due to pigs often eating garbage or scrap meat infected with worms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Considerations

Testing for worms in humans is actually a very common procedure. Over one billion people are infected with the "Ascaris lumbricoides" worm, according to the Maryland Medical Center. Children have a high rate of experiencing a pinworm infection due to the amount of time they spend with other children who might carry its eggs, reports KidsHealth.

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