Learn About Ascariasis

What is the definition of Ascariasis?

Ascariasis is an infection with the parasitic roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides.

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What are the alternative names for Ascariasis?

Intestinal parasite - ascariasis; Roundworm - ascariasis

What are the causes of Ascariasis?

People get ascariasis by consuming food or drink that is contaminated with roundworm eggs. Ascariasis is the most common intestinal worm infection. It is related to poor sanitation. People who live in places where human feces (stool) are used as fertilizer are also at risk for this disease.

Once consumed, the eggs hatch and release immature roundworms called larvae inside the small intestine. Within a few days, the larvae move through the bloodstream to the lungs. They travel up through the large airways of the lungs and are swallowed back into the stomach and small intestine.

As the larvae move through the lungs they may cause an uncommon form of pneumonia called eosinophilic pneumonia. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell. Once the larvae are back in the small intestine, they mature into adult roundworms. Adult worms live in the small intestine, where they lay eggs that are present in feces. They can live 10 to 24 months.

An estimated 1 billion people are infected worldwide. Ascariasis occurs in people of all ages, though children are affected more severely than adults.

What are the symptoms of Ascariasis?

Most of the time, there are no symptoms. If there are symptoms, they may include:

  • Bloody sputum (mucus coughed up by the lower airways)
  • Cough, wheezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Passing worms in stool
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting or coughing up worms
  • Worms leaving the body through the nose or mouth
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What are the current treatments for Ascariasis?

Treatment includes medicines such as albendazole that paralyze or kill intestinal parasitic worms.

If there is a blockage of the intestine caused by a large number of worms, a procedure called endoscopy may be used to remove the worms. In rare cases, surgery is needed.

People who are treated for roundworms should be checked again in 3 months. This involves examining the stools to check for eggs of the worm. If eggs are present, treatment should be given again.

Who are the top Ascariasis Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
18
conditions

Jaswant Rai Speciality Hospital

Meerut, UP, IN 

Malay Sharma is in Meerut, India. Sharma is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Ascariasis. She is also highly rated in 18 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Ascariasis, Scrofula, Secernentea Infections, and Helminthiasis.

Elite
Highly rated in
8
conditions

Ghent University

Merelbeke, VLG, BE 

Johnny Vlaminck is in Merelbeke, Belgium. Vlaminck is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Ascariasis. He is also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Ascariasis, Secernentea Infections, Helminthiasis, and Whipworm Infection.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
4
conditions

Rostov State Medical University

Rostov-na-donu, ROS, RU 

Larisa Ermakova is in Rostov-na-donu, Russian Federation. Ermakova is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Ascariasis. She is also highly rated in 4 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Ascariasis, Secernentea Infections, Helminthiasis, and Spirurida Infections.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Ascariasis?

Most people recover from symptoms of the infection, even without treatment. But they may continue to carry the worms in their body.

Complications can be caused by adult worms that move to certain organs, such as the:

  • Appendix
  • Bile duct
  • Pancreas

If the worms multiply, they can block the intestine.

What are the possible complications of Ascariasis?

These complications may occur:

  • Blockage in the bile ducts of the liver
  • Blockage in the intestine
  • Hole in the gut
When should I contact a medical professional for Ascariasis?

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of ascariasis, particularly if you have traveled to an area where the disease is common. Also call if you have any of the following:

  • Symptoms get worse
  • Symptoms do not improve with treatment
  • New symptoms occur
How do I prevent Ascariasis?

Improved sanitation and hygiene in developing countries will reduce the risk in those areas. In places where ascariasis is common, people may be given deworming medicines as a preventive measure.

Roundworm eggs - ascariasis
Digestive system organs
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What are the Latest Advances for Ascariasis?
Short Term Outcome of Therapeutic ERCP in the Management of Biliary Ascariasis in a Tertiary Care Hospital of Bangladesh.
Role of Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography in the Evaluation of Obstructive Jaundice.
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SHOULD ASCARIASIS BE CONSIDERED AS A REPRODUCTOLOGY PROBLEM?
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : December 24, 2020
Published By : Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Bogitsh BJ, Carter CE, Oeltmann TN. Intestinal nematodes. In: Bogitsh BJ, Carter CE, Oeltmann TN, eds. Human Parasitology. 5th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier Academic Press; 2019:chap 16.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Parasites-ascariasis. www.cdc.gov/parasites/ascariasis/index.html. Updated November 23, 2020. Accessed February 17, 2021.

Mejia R, Weatherhead J, Hotez PJ. Intestinal nematodes (roundworms). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 286.