Identification of Patients with Ascariasis
Ascariasis: is one of the commonest infections of the small intestine. Caused by a nematode called Ascaris lumbricoides ( round worm)
Mode of Transmission of Ascariasis
- Common ways of acquiring ascariasis include failure to adhere to hygienic practices such as washing hands before food preparation and proper storage of food.
- Therefore the disease is related to poor sanitation and hygiene.
- Infection is acquired from ingestion of food contaminated with mature eggs
- The usual vehicles are fruits and other raw food
- Children are more frequently infected and have higher worm burden than adults because they like putting contaminated objects into their mouths
- Heavy infection in children can contribute to under-nutrition.
- Adults have much lighter infections, although re-infection can occur throughout life.
Signs and Symptoms of Ascariasis
- Abdominal discomfort, restlessness and insomnia (sleeplessness)
- Eosinophilia due to allergic reaction
- Intestinal obstruction
- Passing adult worm in the stool or vomitus
- Obstructive jaundice
Treatment of Ascariasis
Treatment is effective only against the adult worms.
The drugs of choice are as follows:
- Albendazole: for children 2-5 years a single dose of 200mg and for older children and adults, one dose of 400mg is given.
- Mebendazole: a single dose 500mg.
- Levamisole: a single of 2.5mg/kg body weight.
- Piperazine (antepar): syrup at a dose of 150mg/kg body weight (to a maximum of 4g) as a single dose.
Note that these drugs are given between meals . They should be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy.
Prevention and Control of Ascariasis
- Environmental measures such as provision of adequate and safe water supplies. Proper disposal of faeces
- Prevention of faecal contamination of food and water
- Discourage use of fresh human faeces as manure
Health education on:
- Proper use of latrines o Personal hygiene e.g. washing hands after using toilet or before handling food
- Washing fruits and vegetables before eating
- Use of dry racks for utensils so that they are above the soil and dust