Maggots are parasitic worms that live in the intestines or tissues of humans. The vast majority of parasites have two hosts: intermediate and final. However, some helminths parasitize in the body without leaving it and without entering the environment. Worms are ubiquitous. Their greatest number is present in countries with a hot and humid climate.
Symptoms of worms in the intestines depend not only on the type of invasion, but also on the features of its course.
The most common types of parasites
There are seven main varieties of parasitic worms:
Pinworms are small threadlike worms that belong to the category of nematodes. The size of an adult does not exceed 1 mm. In the human body, they live mainly in the large intestine, causing irritation, damage to the mucous membrane, and enteritis. Enterobiasis caused by pinworms has an incubation period of about 15 days. In addition, a characteristic clinical picture develops. The duration of the disease is 2 months, which is equivalent to the lifespan of the worm. In reality, an independent resolution of the disease does not occur, since with enterobiasis there is an autoinfection mechanism.
Note: the symptoms of enterobiasis are rarely pronounced. The disease is often blurred, has no clear diagnostic signs. Suspicion of enterobiasis in children occurs if the child complains of itching in the perianal region.
Pinworm infestation occurs when the rules of personal hygiene are not followed. The route of transmission is fecal-oral. A person who touches a contaminated surface and then does not wash his hands swallows helminth eggs. Similarly, reinfection with enterobiasis occurs. The patient, experiencing itching in the perianal region, scratches the bothersome area and then proceeds to eat. They swallow the worm eggs that fall on their hands. The development cycle of the parasite begins again.
Roundworms are dioecious roundworms that live in the small intestine of humans and animals. The length of the female helminth is 40 centimeters. The size of the male is much smaller. Its length usually does not exceed 25 centimeters. The identifying characteristic of the male is the pointed end of the body.
The life cycle of roundworms is somewhat more complex than that of pinworms. The route of infection is fecal-oral. Helminth eggs fall into the hands of a person when he works with the earth and dirty objects. In the stomach, a young larva emerges from the egg and penetrates the bloodstream with the help of hooks. This is where it grows and migrates. When the larva enters the lungs, it reaches a state that allows it to develop into a sexually mature individual. The patient coughs up the larva, after which it is swallowed again, enters the intestines and turns into an adult roundworm.
Vlasoglav is a roundworm that belongs to the group of nematodes. It is a parasite that lives in the large intestine of humans and domestic animals. Outwardly, the helminth looks like a thin grayish thread of various thicknesses. The anterior part of the whiplash is thin and long. The back is thickened and shortened. Here are the internal organs. The length of the body of the whipworm does not differ depending on the sex and is from 3 to 5 centimeters.
Whipworm eggs, which are already parasites in the host organism, enter the environment with feces. Here they mature and become invasive. A person becomes infected by the fecal-oral route, if the rules of personal hygiene are not observed. Whipworm larvae enter the intestines, grow, feed on the microflora and develop. Subsequently, the young individuals of the helminth migrate to the large intestine. trichuriasis develops.
Tapeworms are tapeworms, sometimes reaching 25 meters in length. The most famous representatives of this genus of parasites are:
- had bull;
- pork tapeworm;
- wide ribbon.
The body structure of all tapeworms is similar. They have a head, a neck, and a body that consists of many segments. The segments located closer to the end of the body have a uterus filled with eggs. They separate from the tapeworm and come out with feces.
As a general rule, the life cycle of tapeworms involves the presence of two hosts: intermediate and final. The intermediate host can vary depending on the type of worm. A person becomes infected by swallowing the larvae contained in undercooked meat or fish.
Echinococcus is the smallest tapeworm that exists. Its length is 2-8 mm. A mature individual has a scolex, a neck, and 3-4 segments. It lives in the intestines of carnivorous animals of the canine family. Intermediate hosts can be herbivores or humans. Helminth eggs fall on the hands upon contact with the definitive host or when collecting wild berries seeded with echinococcus eggs.
When the eggs are ingested, a person becomes an intermediate host. In his body, the larvae penetrate the blood vessels, with the blood flow they are carried to the organs and tissues, where they settle and transform into a Finn - a bubble filled with fluid and containing the scolex of the parasite. In this case, the Finn can reach large sizes, which leads to compression of organs and tissues. Especially dangerous is the localization of echinococcus cysts in the brain, liver and lungs.
Schistosomes are dioecious type helminths belonging to the category of flatworms. They have oral and ventral suckers. The female is slightly longer than the male. The definitive host of schistosome is humans and mammals. The helminth settles in the small vessels of the large intestine, the small pelvis and the bladder. The parasite eggs are released into the bloodstream, filtered by the kidneys, and excreted in the urine.
Larvae of parasites that have fallen into a freshwater reservoir penetrate the bodies of mollusks, where they continue their cycle of development. After 6 to 8 weeks, the embryos reenter open water, where they develop into cercariae, tailed larvae that can enter the human body through intact skin. As a general rule, human infestations develop from swimming in open water, washing clothes in it, or other contact with open water.
Filariae are round, thread-like worms. There are about 8 varieties of filaria that parasitize the human body. The intermediate host and carrier of the disease are blood-sucking insects. Human infection occurs when insect bites and helminth larvae enter the upper layers of the skin.
The distribution of the larvae in the body of the final host occurs via the hematogenous route. Worms spread throughout the body, settle in organs and tissues, cause allergic reactions, swelling of the affected area, lymphostasis, proliferation of endothelial cells.
How to identify worms at home.
It is possible to assume the presence of worms in the body by one or another characteristic feature. Also, for the rapid diagnosis of helminthiasis, a special test consisting of several questions was developed.
Signs of the presence of parasites in the body.
Signs of worms in the body of an adult directly depend on the type of invasion.
- Enterobiosis: itching in the anus, insomnia, irritability, indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain in the right side of the abdomen, flatulence, false urge to defecate.
- Ascariasis: vomiting, navel pain, dry cough, nausea, shortness of breath, roundworm or roundworm eggs in stool, wheezing, fever.
- Trichuriasis: flatulence, vomiting, feces mixed with blood and mucus, mental retardation of the child, abdominal pain, weight loss, anemia.
- Invasion of tapeworms: for a long time it is asymptomatic. Later, episodic abdominal pain, low blood hemoglobin, indigestion, diarrhea, and unexplained weight loss occur.
- Echinococcus: Symptoms of Finn-forming parasite infection depend on the affected organ. With the development of an echinococcus cyst in the brain, neurological symptoms occur. With liver damage, patients complain of pain in the right side, yellowing of the skin, general deterioration of well-being, and violation of digestive processes.
- Schistosomiasis: weight loss, abdominal pain, dizziness, enlarged liver, spleen, blood in urine, fever, anemia, skin edema, urolithiasis, dry cough, impaired defecation.
- Filariasis: enlarged lymph nodes, hyperthermia, weakness, headaches, blood in urine, stiffness of movements, enlargement of certain parts of the body, swelling of the skin, tearing.
Note: Most of the symptoms described are non-specific and can occur with many other diseases.
This test allows you to assess the probability of infection with helminths. When passing it, you should use response options such as "yes", "no", "sometimes". For each "yes" answer, 2 points are awarded, for the "no" answer - 0 points. The answer "sometimes" requires a point.
- Is there morning sickness?
- Is there pale skin, gums?
- Is there persistent anemia unresponsive to drug therapy?
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen?
- Are indigestion common?
- stool disorders?
- Is there heaviness on the right side?
- Frequent headaches?
- Periodic cough?
- Intermittent tingling in large joints?
- Sudden vision loss?
- Grind your teeth while you sleep?
- Eat large amounts of food while still feeling hungry?
- Frequent allergies?
- Does swelling occur?
- Decreased performance?
- Chronic diseases?
- Intermittent abdominal pain?
- Signs of inflammation in the blood?
- Itchy anus?
- Do family members have similar symptoms?
A negative test can be considered a test in which no more than 6 points were obtained. The probability of invasion exists in those who scored from 6 to 17 points. It is almost certain that people who scored 17-24 points on the test are infected with one or another helminth. With an indicator from 24 to 42 points, one can talk about multiple invasions of helminths of different types, which occurs very rarely.
For an accurate diagnosis of helminthiases, several types of laboratory tests are used:
The taking of samples of biological material for analysis is carried out in the morning. A small amount of stool taken from half of the total portion is sent to the laboratory. Here, the material obtained is examined visually, trying to determine the presence of eggs in it. The eggs of some parasites are so large that they can be seen with the naked eye. If this does not happen, the biomaterial is stained using special techniques, sown on nutrient media, after which it is examined under a microscope. It is possible to speak of the absence of invasion only after three or four studies, during which no signs of the presence of worms were detected. The technique is suitable for the determination of all helminths whose eggs and segments are excreted with the faeces.
Signs of the presence of pinworms and roundworms can be detected by taking a scraping or swab of the patient's perianal folds. This method is relevant due to the peculiarities of the reproduction of helminths. Pinworm for laying eggs comes out of the intestine and out, where the laying process takes place. A smear should be taken in the morning, without preliminary hygiene procedures. Otherwise, the parasite eggs will be shed and the test will be false negative.
In the diagnosis of helminthiasis, a general blood test is of indirect importance. Indisputable signs of the presence of parasites in the blood are not detected with this method of investigation. As a rule, the long-term presence of parasitic worms in the body leads to a decrease in hemoglobin levels, the appearance of nonspecific signs of the inflammatory process (increased ESR, leukocytosis).
ELISA blood test
The enzyme immunoassay method (ELISA) is based on the detection of antibodies against parasite toxins and the body's enzymatic response to the presence of helminths. This method of research makes it possible to diagnose the disease even if the helminth, for one reason or another, did not lay eggs. ELISA is most productive in the early stages of invasion, when the worm is just beginning to develop in the human body.
What to do if you get infected?
If there are signs of parasitic infection, independent attempts at therapy should not be made. Regardless of the symptoms of adult worms, the best course of action is to visit a parasitologist or gastroenterologist. He will prescribe the necessary tests, will be able to correctly assess the danger of the disease, select drugs that will quickly and completely eliminate parasites from the body.
Despite the apparent simplicity of the disease, helminth infections can have very serious consequences. There are cases when the presence of parasites provoked perforation of the intestine, its obstruction, peritonitis and sepsis. Modern drugs allow you to quickly and reliably get rid of worms. However, almost each of them has a number of contraindications and recommendations for use, which only a specialist knows. That is why any anthelmintic drug or traditional medicine should be used only after consulting a doctor.