Disease caused by Ascaris (round worm) is commonly called ascariasis. Ascariasis is caused by consuming food and water contaminated with infective eggs of Ascaris. Ascariasis is common among children. Ascariasis is one of the most common round worm infection. Ascariasis is generally common in places which lack modern sanitation.
- Ascariasis due to larvae of Ascaris : The larva of Ascaris bore through intestinal wall and enter the circulation of blood which may land them in the vital organs like kidneys, spinal cord, brain or muscles, where they may cause serious injuries. Severe haemorrhagic conditions in lungs can cause inflammation and oedema (fluid filled painless swelling). In some cases Ascaris larvae may cause acute pneumonia with fatal consequences . Ascariasis infection is followed by temperature, anaemia, leucocytosis and eosinophilia.
- Ascariasis due to adult Ascaris : The adult Ascaris cause enteritis and may cause inflammation of vermiform appendix, gall bladder and common bile duct. Adult Ascaris draw their nourishment from contents of intestine and may suck blood from its walls. Worm produces toxins which may cause irritation of mucous membrane, nervous symptoms like convulsions(involuntary contraction of voluntary muscles), delirium(light headedness) , coma(deep sleep), and nervousness. Stunted growth may occur in children. Other than this, presence of even a few parasite may result in intense colic pains, abdominal discomforts, diarrhea, vomiting and mild temperature hence resulting ascariasis.
The infection of ascariasis can be treated with a dose of hexylresorcinol crystals in a gelatin capsule after about 12 hours’ fasting. The dose, followed by a fast of another four hours , kills the worms, which can be finally expelled by purgative like sodium sulphate. Some anti – helminth drugs , like oil of chenopodium, are very affective by being highly toxic, while some like tetrachloroethylene simply irritate the worms, which thus entangle and blocks the lumen. A gastroenterologist may refer a few drugs such as hetrazan, piperazine hydrate(cirate), tetramisole and dithiazanine against ascariasis. Albandazole is the most common drug used against ascariasis.
- Soil pollution is the chief source of infection hence it should be prevented by making people to observe sanitary habits and hence preventing ascariasis.
- Vegetables grown in polluted soil should be thoroughly washed and boiled before consumption to prevent ascariasis.
Finger nails should be regularly cut to avoid accumulation of egg below them and hands should be properly washed before eating so as to prevent from ascariasis infection.