Soil-transmitted helminths are more commonly known as intestinal worms and are the most common parasitic infections worldwide. These infections are caused by three kinds of worms: roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms, which infect over 1 billion people worldwide. Infection rates differ by country but can be as high as 95% in some areas.
Intestinal worms are usually caused by swallowing eggs from contaminated soil or by larvae that penetrate the skin when soil is walked on barefoot. Contamination occurs through human fecal matter that contains worm larvae and is then mixed in the soil. Once infected, individuals usually have no symptoms.
However, the infection can contribute to anemia, vitamin A deficiency, malnutrition, impaired growth, delayed development, and intestinal blockages.
Intestinal Worms Symptoms and Treatment
Most intestinal worm infections occur in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China, and East Asia. These infections occur more often in developing countries because inadequate sanitation and lack of clean running water and drinking water increase the risk for soil contamination. Pre-school and school-aged children, adolescent girls, and women of childbearing age are more likely to have symptoms.
Yes. Intestinal worm infection can be treated with a single dose of medication for mild or moderate cases. However, the infection can be prevented altogether by increasing the availability of water for personal hygiene, improving sanitation, washing food properly, and by avoiding the use of human feces as fertilizer.
Intestinal worms are the most common parasitic infection and infect over 1 billion people worldwide. Symptoms vary in presentation and severity but, once diagnosed, treatment is relatively quick and inexpensive. Efforts at prevention can greatly decrease the number of new infections by promoting better hygiene and sanitation practices. source: cdc.gov