Threadworms in human are intestinal parasites that commonly infect children. Threadworm is known by its Latin name Enterobius vermicularis and belongs to the class of parasites called the helminthes. It is sometimes referred to as pinworm or seatworm. The threadworms do not transmit to and from animals. However, their eggs can stick to the animal fur.
Threadworms infest humans due to poor hygiene habits. The eggs of the threadworm get transferred from the anus to the mouth or other surfaces. These eggs then get transferred into a healthy individual coming in contact with the infected surface. These eggs can stick to the underwear or clothes, bed sheets, towels and even carpets.
If the person scratches the anus, the eggs get transferred to the fingertips or nails. When the person touches other surfaces like kitchen utensils, furniture, toothbrush, toys, bathroom or kitchen countertops, the eggs get transferred. These eggs survive on the surfaces for 3 weeks and get transferred to an unsuspecting individual. A person can also breathe in the eggs or swallow them. Once swallowed, they can hatch in the intestines leading to intestinal infection.
The threadworm infection is very common in children, as they continuously come in contact with other children. Also, the level of hygiene is often taken lightly by children. They come in contact with the eggs on the surface of toys, while playing, improper washing of hands before eating, etc.
Life Cycle of Threadworms
The female and male threadworms mate after which the male dies. The female migrates to the anus and lays thousands of tiny eggs around the anus and in females the eggs are laid around the vagina. The female threadworm lays her eggs at night mostly when the infected person is sleeping. The female threadworm secretes mucus while laying eggs that causes the area to become itchy. When the person scratches the area the eggs can stick on the fingertips and fingernails. These eggs then get transferred to the mouth, clothes and other surfaces. If these surfaces or clothes are touched by other people, the eggs may get transferred to the mouth. The eggs can survive three weeks before hatching. The hatchlings around the anus can re-enter the bowel area. If the eggs have been swallowed, they hatch inside the intestine. The hatchlings feed from the nutrients present in the large intestine. After 2 weeks, the worms become the size of an adult and reproduce again.
These threadworms are visible to the naked eye that look similar to cotton threads. An adult female can reach about 8 to 12 mm long and the male is about 2 to 5 mm long. The adult threadworm can live in the intestine for about 6 weeks. Many people infected with the parasite do not show any kind of threadworm symptoms.Thus, the symptoms include intense itching around the anus and vagina usually at night or early morning.
Other symptoms include restless sleep, irritability, teeth grinding, loss of appetite. In very rare cases, a person may experience slight stomach pain due to gastrointestinal upsets. A child who had no bed wetting problems may begin to wet the bed in sleep. Threadworms do not cause any major illness, but leads to urinary tract infection. Many people show no symptoms of threadworm infection.
The threadworm in humans treatment includes use of either of the two medications, that includes,piperazine and pyrantel pamoate. These are over the counter drugs and do not require a prescription. The first dose does not kill the eggs and requires follow-up. The infection of the vagina in rare cases needs a medical prescription for medications to kill the threadworm infection. You should speak to your medical consultant for a detailed and appropriate threadworms in human treatment.
One can prevent threadworms infection with frequent hand washing, maintaining optimum hygiene and intensive cleaning of the bedding, clothes, undergarments, etc. You should clean all surfaces with a disinfectant to get rid of the eggs.
The information offered on this site is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis or treatment. The reader is advised to consult with a medical consultant before taking any home remedies, supplements or following any treatment advised by anyone on this site. A medical consultant will be able to provide the reader with advise that is safe and effective for an individual's specific needs and diagnose a particular health problem based on their personal medical history .