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:
o Albendazole: for children 2-5 years a single dose of 200mg and for older children and adults, one dose of 400mg is given.
o Mebendazole: a single dose 500mg.
o Levamisole: a single of 2.5mg/kg body weight.
o 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:
o Proper use of latrines o Personal hygiene e.g. washing hands after using toilet or before handling food
o Washing fruits and vegetables before eating
o Use of dry racks for utensils so that they are above the soil and dust