Whipworm

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Whipworm
Missing image
Trichurisspmale.jpg
Male Whipworm


Male Whipworm
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Nematoda
Class:Adenophorea
Order:Trichurida
Family:Trichuridae
Genus:Trichuris
Species:trichiura
Binomial name
Trichuris trichiura

The human Whipworm ('Trichuris trichiura or Trichocephalus trichiuris), is a roundworm, which causes trichuriasis when it infects a human large intestine. The name whipworm refers to the shape of the worm; they look like whips with wider "handles" at the posterior end. Symptoms include:

  • Light infestations are frequently asymptomatic.
  • Heavy infestations may have bloody diarrhea.
  • Long-standing blood loss may lead to iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Rectal prolapse is possible in severe cases.

Infection occurs through accidental ingestation of eggs and is more common in warmer areas. The eggs hatch in small intestine, then move into the wall of the small intestine and develop. Upon reaching adulthood, the thinner end (the front of the worm) burrows into the large intestine and the thicker end hangs into the lumen and mates with nearby worms. The females can grow to be 50 mm long. Neither the male nor the female has much of a visible tail past the anus.

Parasite is detectable by stool exam, which can detect eggs and charcot-leyden crystals. Mebendazole is 90% effective in the first dose, and alendazole may also be offered as an anti-parasitic agent. Adding iron to the bloodstream helps solve the iron deficiency and rectal prolapse.

Whipworm commonly infects patients also infected with Giardia, Entamoeba histolitica, Ascaris lumbricoides, and hookworms.

Infection can be avoided by proper disposal of human feces and not eating dirt or crops fertilized with night soil.

Trichuris suis in treating other disorders

It has been suggested that a contributing cause of intestinal disorders is immune system reaction to the patient's own body, and that adding worms for the immune system to attack instead may alleviate the symptoms. In a preliminary study, "among 100 volunteers with Crohn's disease and 100 with ulcerative colitis, both of which are diseases classified under IBD [inflammatory bowel disease], the remission rate was 70% and 50%, respectively" after ingesting eggs of the pig whipworm Trichiuris suis[1] (http://www.patienthealthinternational.com/archivenews/1689.aspx).

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