As you know, pests are considered to be the most resistant organisms to the external environment. To date, around 250 species are recognized as helminths capable of infecting humans. All of them pose a threat to the health and, in more serious cases, the lives of those infected. Knowledge of the types of helminths in humans and their characteristics greatly facilitates treatment and helps to develop an effective prevention plan.
What worms do humans have?
It takes a long time to become fully familiar with the types of worms. The fact is that so far scientists can not provide the most detailed information on the classification of parasites. This is largely due to the fact that a certain area is characterized by the presence of specific helminthic invasions. In this regard, it is almost impossible to obtain data on all types of human helminths that exist on Earth.
Thus, worms, most often diagnosed in the southern zone, practically do not appear in the population of northern geographic regions. For the temperate climatic zone and mid-latitudes, about 20 varieties of worms are recognized as the most common. They can be conditionally divided into 3 main categories:
- Round parasitic worms (nematodes).
- Band helminths (cestodes).
- Tapeworms (trematodes).
1. Round and flat helminths
Each of the above groups includes a wide variety of parasitic organisms which require brief description. In children and adults, most often it is necessary to treat such representatives of worms belonging to the class of trematodes:
- Chinese luck;
- fluke cat;
- liver fluke.
Among nematodes there are 7 of the best known and most common parasite species that inhabit the body of all ages. The roundworms that are transmitted by all possible means are:
- intestinal acne;
2. Invasions of Cestode
Tapeworms (or cestodes) are parasitic worms that pose the greatest threat to the body. Diagnosis of such helminthic infestations occurs much less frequently than infections with round parasites in children and adults, however, infection with the following types of worms carries the most serious consequences:
- bullish tapeworm;
- dwarf tapeworm;
- pork tapeworm;
- wide ribbon;
- rat tapeworm.
Acanthocephaly is one of the rarer types of helminthic invasions. These include the Giant Ridge and the Pearl Ridge. These worms can enter the body in the rarest cases, for example when they eat an insect or its larva infected with parasites.
Why are worms dangerous to humans?
In order to adequately assess the degree of threat to the health of the patient in the event of the installation of helminths, it is first necessary to determine to what types of worms they belong. Depending on the type of worms, the treatment and its duration are determined. The main damage caused by the presence of parasites in the body is felt in the intestines - the majority of all helminths are localized in this organ. All the nutrients that should be absorbed and benefit a person are selected by the worms.
Meanwhile, other types of worms don't just settle in the intestines and "steal" all the precious microelements humans need. They actively multiply and affect other vital human organs and systems. In addition to the heart muscle, liver and lungs, worms can cause enormous damage to the brain and blood vessels. The worms can even infect the eyes.
Main ways of infection with worms
You can protect yourself and loved ones from the onset of the disease if you know how helminths of a particular species enter the body. This is the only way to take all necessary measures in a timely manner and to minimize the risk of infection. We know on the main transmission routes that:
- Infection occurs through soil and water. When walking on the ground barefoot, the risk of laying eggs indoors increases several times. An unverified drinking source and in common cases even water from a common water supply can contain worm larvae.
- Helminth eggs enter the body along with animal products. The result of helminthic invasions is insufficient or poor-quality processing of meat, fish, seafood and eggs. People who prefer exotic Asian cuisine are at risk of contracting worms. He, sushi, sashimi are made from raw fish and meat.
- Some types of parasites can become established in the intestine, after entering it with unwashed vegetables and fruits. Refusal of animal products does not solve the problem of the likelihood of developing helminthiasis. Worm eggs, as already mentioned, can be contained in the soil. It is recommended to pour over all fruits with boiling water before use.
- Worms are transmitted to humans and animals. Pets do not often become a source of infection for their owners. However, worms can be found both inside the animal and on its fur. From dogs and cats, parasite eggs fall into the soil, spreading further with the meltwater.
Transmission of parasites by sick people
Worms can also pass from one infected person to another. There are several modes of transmission of helminthic invasions:
- by unwashed hands (eg, shaking hands, hugging);
- when using common utensils;
- when wearing someone else's underwear;
- group application of personal hygiene products by several people.
Pinworm eggs most often pass from person to person, often falling under nail plates, staying there for a long time. The prevalence of this type of worm in children is explained by the neglect of basic rules of cleanliness. A child can simply put their hands in their mouth or bite their nails, so that pinworms have no difficulty entering a new human body. The task of parents at this stage is to timely recognize the signs of helminthiasis and prevent the development of helminthic invasions in their baby, immediately starting to treat the disease.
Symptoms of the acute stage of helminthiasis
It is not easy to detect the first signs of parasitic infection in an adult or a child. Diagnosis of the presence of worms is also complicated by the fact that the incubation period of some species can last up to a year and a half.
Usually the first symptoms of worm infestation appear after various periods. In addition, the course of helminthiasis can be conditionally divided into 2 stages:
- acute stage (on average lasts no more than two months after the incubation period);
- chronic (characterized by the development of sexually mature parasites and can last for decades).
In the acute phase of the invasion, the main clearly expressed symptom can be called an allergic reaction. Due to the production of antibodies during the migration of parasitic larvae, pathological manifestations on the skin should be alerted. The following symptoms are an indicator of infection with any type of worm in humans:
- hyperemia of the skin;
- burning sensation and itching;
- small rashes on the surface of the epidermis or mucous membranes;
- slight increase in lymph nodes;
- local edema;
- pain in the breastbone (up to attacks of choking);
- persistent vomiting and nausea;
- diarrhea or constipation.
In addition, such dangerous pathologies as pneumonia, meningoencephalitis, hepatitis can become complications of the appearance in the body of other creatures.
A reliable confirmation of the presence of helminths in internal organs is the index of eosinophils in the clinical blood test. The increase in the value of these particles is caused by dysproteinemia - a violation of the normal number proportion between protein fractions.
Types of symptoms in the chronic form of the disease
The signs of chronic helminthiasis in humans are predetermined by the location of colonization of the parasites. Simply put: The manifestations of the disease will depend on which organ becomes the primary habitat for a particular type of worm.
In particular, the most common parasitism in the intestines of roundworms can even occur without any symptoms. If larger species are affected by worms, signs of the disease will become visible as soon as the worms reach puberty. Dyspeptic disorders in adults and children, pain syndrome and neurotic manifestations are their characteristic features. Ascariosis is often characterized by the development of intestinal obstruction and pancreatitis, and the risk of oncological diseases increases.
Medicines against parasites
It is necessary to start treatment for helminthiasis as soon as possible. Effective therapy will be if, before starting it, you know exactly what type of parasite has taken up residence in the body. Today there are many anthelmintic drugs.
These are different types of drugs that can target a specific type of worm. The stronger anti-worm drugs are broad spectrum drugs and are excellent for the treatment of combination helminthiasis. Both are considered toxic, have a lot of side effects and contraindications. The use of such drugs should be carried out with extreme caution only after medical recommendation.
Most types of worms in adults need to be treated for a long time and persistently. Often, parasitologists prescribe the simultaneous administration of several anthelmintics.
The dosage regimen and dosage of a particular drug should be established exclusively by a specialist. This will help to avoid allergies and serious side effects. For some types of helminthic infections, the treatment should be repeated. This is often due to the fact that during the first therapy most of the adult worms were neutralized, but some forms of helminthic larvae and eggs still remain in the patient's body. If they are not treated again, the worms will come back.
Basic preventive measures
Pharmacotherapy is undoubtedly an important part of the process of eliminating and in some cases preventing parasites. However, in order to deal with invasive worms, it is necessary to follow the simplest rules to prevent worms. Processing will not work if you ignore the following rules:
- Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.
- If it is not possible to clean the skin of your hands with soap, it is advisable to use damp antibacterial wipes.
- All food should be thoroughly rinsed before cooking.
- It is important to expose meat and fish to prolonged exposure to heat.
- Use only water from reliable sources for drinking.
- At least once a year, it is extremely important to be tested for worms.