Enterobiasis- Information, Treatment & Prevention

By: Juliet Cohen

Enterobiasis or pinworm infection is a common, contagious, parasitic infestation found mainly in children. The disorder is spread by swallowing or inhaling the tiny eggs of the pinworm. It occurs especially in children. Adult pinworms live in the intestine and colon, and at night the female adult worms deposit their eggs outside the rectum or anal area. Enterobiasis is also known as pinworm, seatworm, threadworm infection, and oxyuriasis. Enterobiasis infection and reinfection occur most often in children in between 5 and 14 ages and in certain institutionalized groups because of poor hygiene and frequent hand-to-mouth activity. Pinworm infection may be caused by a small, white intestinal worm or more formally, enterobius vermicularis. The pinworm is about the length of a staple and lives for the most part within the rectum of humans.

Enterobiasis is the almost popular insect transmission in the united states. Direct infection occurs when the patient's hands transportation infective eggs from the anus to the lip. Enterobiasis seldom causes any severe physiological problems except for the principal symptom, which is serious rectal itching. The itching will often lead to re-infection as the eggs are captured under the fingernails, and eventually reintroduced orally. Indirect transmission occurs when the patient comes in contact with contaminated articles, such as linens and clothing. The eggs can also be spread by air and other mechanisms, eventually leading to oral introduction into the victim. Also great care should be taken to shower daily, and wash hands before every meal to avoid re-infection. It is most commonly affects school-age children. Most symptoms of pinworm infection are mild. Many individuals with enterobiasis exhibit no symptoms.

The backbone of treatment is antiparasitic medicine such as pyrantel pamoate, mebendazole or albendazole. Drug therapy with piperazine destroys the causative parasites. Effective eradication requires concurrent handling of household members and, in institutions, new patients. Taking a second dose of medication two weeks after the first will usually kill any pinworms that might have hatched in the meantime, before they are able to produce new eggs. To relieve the rectal itching, a shallow warm bath with either half a cup of table salt, or epsom salts is recommended. Enterobiasis may be treated with over the counter drugs. Because the infection is easily spread through contact with contaminated clothing or surfaces, it is recommended that all family members receive the therapeutic dose. Also, application of an ointment containing zinc oxide or regular petroleum jelly can be used to relieve rectal itching.

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