Helminths and protozoa are the two main types of intestinal parasites. Helminths are worms, and protozoa are one-celled organisms that multiply at a rapid rate inside the human body.
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Many people who are infected with tapeworms show no symptoms at all. Some symptoms that may be seen are weakness, abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
The only real symptom of pinworms is itching in the anal area. Pinworms are very common in school- age children.
The main symptoms of a roundworm infestation are abdominal pain and blood in the stool. Roundworms are also very prevalent in school-age children and people who are institutionalised.
Protozoa infestations can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating and bloody stool. Other symptoms that may be seen are diarrhoea and fever.
The causes of intestinal parasites include poor sanitation with food and water, poor hygiene and international travel. Being positive for HIV and exposure to schools, day care or other institutions also puts you at risk of being infected.
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