Hookworm Disease – Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Hookworm is a parasitic intestinal infection.It may be caused most commonly by necator americanus. Hookworms live only in sandy or loamy soil. Heavy infection with hookworm can create serious health problems for newborns, children, pregnant women, and persons who are malnourished. Hookworm infections is occur mostly in tropical and subtropical climates and are estimated to infect about 1 billion people about one-fifth of the world’s population. Two types of hookworm are responsible for hookworm disease in humans. The adult worm of both Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale is about 10 mm long, pinkish-white in color, and curved into an S-shape or double hook. Ancylostoma duodenale is found in southern Europe, northern Africa, northern Asia, and parts of South America.

Hookworm is Second species, Necator americanus was widespread in the southeastern United States early in this century. Life cycle of hookworms begins with the passing of hookworm eggs in human feces and their deposition into the soil. Larval growth is most proliferative in favorable soil that is sandy and moist, with an optimal temperature of 20-30°C. Under these conditions, the larvae hatch in 1 or 2 days to become rhabditiform larvae. Females may lay from 5,000 to 20,000 eggs a day after mating with the male in the host’s intestines. These eggs are passed out of the host’s body in feces. The eggs enter the soil, where they incubate. After about 48 hours, the immature larval form hatches out of the eggs. These larvae take about six weeks to develop into the mature larval form that is capable of causing human infection. Most people have no symptoms once the worms enter the intestines. However, iron deficiency anemia caused by loss of blood may result from heavy infestation.

Causes of Hookworm Disease

1.Poor sanitation and poverty.

2.Refugees.

3.International adoptees.

4.Recent immigrants.

Symptoms of Hookworm Disease

1.Fever.

2.Chills.

3.Skin rash.

4.Itching.

5.Headache.

6.Facial paralysis.

7.Muscle pains.

8.Joint inflammation.

Treatment of Hookworm Disease

1.Chemotherapeutics available for treatment of hookworm disease include the benzimidazoles, mebendazole and albendazole, and pyrantel pamoate.

2.Benzimidazoles are an effective chemotherapeutic option with cure rates greater than 90% after a full course of treatment.

3.Oral penicillin is usually prescribed for children. When given during the late stages, high-dose ceftriaxone I.V. may be a successful treatment.

4.Some herbs are thought to be effective in treating bacterial diseases like Lyme disease. A popular choice for this purpose is the western herb spilanthes.

5.There is often a recommendation made to increase the amount of protein in the diet to improve nutrition.

6.Involves improving sanitation and avoiding contact with soil in areas with high rates of hookworm infection.

7.Children should be required to wear shoes when playing outside in such areas, and people who are gardening should wear gloves.

8.Iron supplements improve motor and language development in infected children.

9.Anemia is treated with iron supplements. In severe cases, blood transfusion may be necessary.