Intestinal parasites

Although typically thought of as diseases of the developing world, intestinal infections with parasites or protozoa are becoming more common in the United States and other developed countries as a result of increasing worldwide travel and immigration.

Intestinal parasites are parasites that populate the gastro-intestinal tract in humans and other animals.

Intestinal parasite exposure include: ingestion of undercooked meat, drinking infected water, and skin absorption.

The two main types of intestinal parasites are helminths and protozoa.

Protozoans parasites including cryptosporidium, microsporidia, and isospora, are most common in HIV-infected persons.

Parasites can infect the digestive tract, and sometimes two or more can cause infection at the same time.

Parasites can enter the intestine by going through the mouth from uncooked or unwashed food, contaminated water or hands, or by skin contact with larva infected soil, and they can also be transf2242ed by the sexual act of anilingus in some cases.

Swallowed organisms move into the intestine, where they can reproduce and cause symptoms.

Children are particularly susceptible following contact with infected soil that is present in environments such as sandboxes and school playgrounds.

People in developing countries are also at high risk due to drinking water contaminated with parasites.

Intestinal worms do not cause any symptoms in some patients, or symptoms may be intermittent.

Common signs and complaints include: abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.

May cause anemia.

For diagnosis stool samples are collected to search for the parasites, and an adhesive may be applied to the anus in order to search for eggs.

Antihelminthic treatment inhibits an enzyme that is necessary for the worm to make the substance that prevents the worm from being digested.

Tapeworm Infestation
Patients with cestode infestations may be asymptomatic or report vague or generalized complaints.

Ascariasis
Ascariasis is the most common helminthic infection with an estimated worldwide prevalence, 25%.

Hookworm Disease ›
Hookworm disease is predominantly caused by nematode parasites from the Necator and Ancylostoma genera.

Giardiasis
Giardiasis is a major diarrheal disease found throughout the world.

Amebiasis
Although amebiasis is usually asymptomatic, it can give rise to dysentery and invasive extraintestinal disease.

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