Ascariasis

(Roundworm)

Definition

Ascariasis is an infection with a roundworm parasite. This round worm can reach up to over 15 inches (40 centimeters) in length. Their eggs hatch in the stomach and travel to the heart and lungs. This causes a type of pneumonia. They travel to the throat where they are swallowed and enter the stomach again and develop into adult worms. Each worm lays 240,000 eggs per day. These eggs leave the body with bowel movements. The cycle begins again when contaminated food or water is eaten.
Digestive Tract and Lungs
Digestion tract and Lungs 3D
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Ascariasis is caused by swallowing food or water that is contaminated by feces containing eggs.

Risk Factors

Infestations are more common in preschool age or younger children. Other factors that may increase your chance of ascariasis include:
  • Travel to developing countries
  • Living in southern US
  • Eating unsanitary food
  • Drinking unclean water

Symptoms

Most people will have no symptoms. Symptoms of ascariasis may include:
  • Dry cough and fever
  • Wheezing
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Poor nutrition, especially in children
  • Passing a worm either by mouth, nose, or rectum
  • Diseases caused by the Ascaris worm include:
Appendicitis
Inflammed appendix
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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