There are a number of types of worm (helminth) infestations that
humans are susceptible to. Of these, the most common by far is the
Enterobius vermicularis, also known as the threadworm, pinworm or
seatworm. Do not confuse it with the Strongyloides stercoralis worm that
is sometimes also referred to as "threadworm" but is a very different
type of worm. Threadworms derive their name from their appearance, with
the adult worms resembling fine pieces of white cotton.
female threadworm is larger than its male counterpart and can grow up
to 1.5cm in length. The threadworm is a nematode, which are
distinguishable from other helminth by their unsegmented cylindrical
bodies that taper at both ends. It has been estimated that hundreds of
millions of people have experienced a threadworm infection at one time
or another. Threadworms are the most commonly encountered human host
specific nematode. They are parasitic because they obtain their food
from the infected person.
Diagnosis and symptoms
There may not be many external
symptoms to indicate that you have a threadworm infestation so it may go
undetected. Common signs include an intense itchy feeling around the
anus, usually at night or early in the morning. Such itching could,
however, also be caused by haemorrhoids, a reaction to underclothes,
perianal eczema, and pruritus ani. Other symptoms of a threadworm
infestation include restless sleep, irritability, grinding your teeth in
your sleep, or a loss of appetite.
In rare cases slight stomach
pains associated with gastrointestinal upsets may be experienced.
Threadworms do not cause illness but they can cause urinary tract
infections. You may notice a child who previously did not have a problem
starts wetting the bed. Remember that many people with threadworms do
not have any symptoms at all.
More definitive proof of a
threadworm infection requires some investigation. One method is to look
to see if any worms are visible on the surface of faeces after a bowel
motion. Any worms will resemble small, moving pieces of fine white
cotton thread. This type of investigation may not be that successful and
even a proper stool examination only has about a 20% detection rate.
method entails trying to observe the worms while they are moving around
at night. If you suspect that your child has worms then you can use a
torch and check for them. This is probably best done in the morning as
soon as the child wakes up. The worms themselves will be visible to the
naked eye. They will "glow" under the torchlight.
possible method of diagnosis is to look for the threadworm's eggs
deposited around the anus on the perianal skin. They are best detected
at night and look like small white specks. Alternatively, you could try
to spot the eggs of the threadworm using the "adhesive tape test". This
should take place in the morning before bathing or going to the toilet.
Apply a piece of double-sided cellophane tape to a wooden stick.
If you use a piece of single-sided tape then ensure that the sticky side
of the tape faces out. Your local chemist should be able to provide you
with some hypo-allergenic tape if you require it. Press the tape
against the anus and remove it. Any threadworm eggs will appear as tiny
white marks on the tape. If you are unsure about this sort of test you
could make an early morning appointment with your doctor and they can
organise a laboratory-based test for you or they may be able to diagnose
the infection based on the symptoms alone.
Related to these
symptoms, scratching the perianal skin to relieve the itching can lead
to a secondary bacterial infection of the region which worsens the
condition if the skin becomes inflamed or broken. In rare cases girls
and women may develop vulvovaginitis as the result of a threadworm
infestation that is left untreated. This is where the "abnormal
migration" of a threadworm takes it into the vagina causing inflammation
of the vagina region, irritation, and vaginal discharge. This is
actually a sign of the body's defences attacking the intruder. Other
than the discomfort that this causes it is not much of a health risk as
the threadworm will only be able to survive in this region for a limited
Threadworm, pinworms, and seatworm Infestion
commonly associated with young children because of their close social
interaction and inattention to personal hygiene, threadworms are very
contagious and adults are just as susceptible to a rapid transfer of the
infection. Threadworm infestations can quickly be spread through family
groups or any collection of people, including day-care centres, schools
and camps. This is why it is a good idea to treat all the members of
the family if one member becomes infected with threadworms.
to popular belief, the threadworm only infects humans. Animals are only
vulnerable to a distantly related species of this worm, one that does
not infect humans. Household pets like cats and dogs are not part of the
threadworm life cycle but they can be carriers if the eggs of the
threadworm are transferred into their fur and hair.
There are two
main ways that you can catch threadworm. The first is by direct contact
with an infected person. The second is by coming into contact with an
object or surface that has become contaminated through contact with an
infected person. This could be anywhere, from a toilet seat, bedding,
toys, kitchen bench, clothing, door handles, food or furniture. The eggs
can even survive in swimming pools.
Contracting threadworm is
not something that is connected with a lack of personal hygiene but is
an everyday hazard of communal living. Once the eggs lose their
stickiness, catching threadworm can be as easy as breathing in the
airborne eggs contained in household dust. The eggs can survive in
external environments for about two to three weeks. Poor hygiene,
however, can contribute to the spread of threadworm once you have
contracted it. Threadworm eggs become infective within hour of being
laid. The small eggs are quite difficult to see with the naked eye and
stick to anything that they come into contact with. Invariably, the
infected person's hands become contaminated with the eggs and they
become widely dispersed.
Humans become infected when they ingest
the eggs and begin the life cycle of the threadworm. After they have
swallowed the eggs they hatch inside the small intestine. The shells of
the eggs are dissolved by stomach juices. The juvenile threadworm larvae
then move to the large intestine to grow and mate. It takes about a
month, the incubation period taking anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks, for
the swallowed egg to turn into a sexually mature adult worm. An adult
worm lives for approximately two months, although the male threadworm
dies after copulation.
When the female is ready to lay eggs she
emerges out of the human host's anus while they are asleep and inactive.
The female then lays up to 10,000 eggs, depositing them on the perianal
skin, before dying. At body temperature the eggs develop quickly and
they become infective after about 6 hours. Typically this is associated
with itching and discomfort around the anus, which is caused by the
mucus, or "glue", that the female threadworm secretes in order to attach
the eggs to the skin. These eggs are triangular in cross section and
flat along one side. When the host scratches this area they transfer the
eggs to their hands or under their fingernails, contaminating them and
beginning the cycle once again. If the eggs remain on the perianal skin
long enough to hatch then the juveniles will crawl back into the anus to
the intestines to mature into adults. This process is known as
Treating threadworm, pinworms, and seatworm infestion
treat threadworm you should use a treatment like Vermox or
Combantrin-1, which contain mebendazole, or Combantrin, which contains
pyrantel embonate as the active ingredient. Mebendazole is an
anthelmintic that works by interfering with the proteins in either the
worm's intestine or absorptive cells. This inhibits the threadworms'
ability to absorb glucose (sugars) which depletes them of the energy
that they need to survive. As a result the threadworm dies within
Pyrantel embonate, a "neuro-muscular blocking
agent", causes paralysis of the threadworm's nervous system. The
paralysed worms are then expelled in the faeces by the normal actions of
These treatments are not intended to be used by
pregnant women or children under two years-of-age. If you want to use
the worm treatments in these situations then you should consult your
doctor or pharmacist first.
These worming treatments only work on
the adult worms that are present in the intestine at the time the
medicine is taken. The whole family or all the people living in the same
household should be treated at the same time. You should give your home
a thorough clean after treatment in order to kill any remaining eggs
and to help prevent reinfestation. It is also a good idea to treat
everyone again about two weeks after the initial treatment if you
suspect that reinfection has occurred.
Here are some general hygiene measures that you can take in order to help you get rid of worms.
- A morning shower or bath will remove any eggs laid during the night.
- Make sure that everyone in the household using their own towel and facecloth.
- During treatment change the nightclothes and underwear of the person with the infection daily.
- Vacuum carpets as often as possible, especially bedrooms, to remove as much dust as possible.
- Bed-sheets should be changed frequently, especially in the first 7 to 10 days after starting the treatment.
- Use hot laundry wash cycles for a while in order to kill the remaining eggs.
- Keep the nails of the infected people short to reduce the chances of eggs being stored there.
- This will also discourage nail biting amongst children.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before each meal.
the toilet and the bathroom area clean. Eggs can be lifted off toilet
seats and door handles with paper dampened with water.
- If possible, you could make the children wear cotton gloves at night.
- It is a good idea to avoid eating food in your bedroom.
food and drinks containing a lot of sugar because treatments containing
mebendazole are trying to stave the worms of glucose.
- If you
are using a treatment containing Pyrantel embonate then eating
high-fibre food will help to prevent constipation and will assist
expelling the worms.
Ref Source : http://www.wormtreatment.com/dyn/283/Pinworms-and-Threadworms.html
See Also :