Thursday, May 03, 2018 by Ralph Flores
Hymenolepiasis is an infection caused by the worms from the Cestoda family, also known as tapeworms. Two species are responsible for the disease: Hymenolepis nana (called the dwarf tapeworm) and H. diminuta (called the rat tapeworm). The infection is usually transmitted through a fecal-oral transmission, where it does not need an intermediate host. H. nana accounts for most human infections, with cases from H. diminuta are incidental.
H. nana eggs, after they have passed with the stool, are already infectious. While they cannot survive for more than 10 days in an open environment, these are usually ingested by beetles or fleas. The eggs become cysticercoids, which can infect humans or rodents once they ingest food items that have been contaminated by insects, such as pre-cooked cereal. The tapeworms then travel to the small intestine, where the destroy intestinal villi and attach themselves in its place.
In the U.S., hymenolepiasis is rare, with only 0.4 percent of school children in the Southeast testing positive for infection. Elsewhere, up to 75 million people are carriers of H. nana, with 25 percent being children. In particular, Sicily, Argentina, and the southern regions of the former Soviet Union are the places where hymenolepiasis cases are high.
Hymenolepiasis infections are caused by eating food items that have been contaminated by insects. In addition, children are more prone to be infected by H. nana, as well as people in crowded environments or those confined in institutions.
For the most part, hymenolepiasis is asymptomatic. However, in heavy infections, the following symptoms may occur.
If hymenolepiasis is left untreated, complications may occur which may affect a person’s overall quality of life. In children, prolonged H. nana infections can cause dehydration due to chronic diarrhea and cause severe weakness and deterioration of overall health. This may also cause persistent abdominal comfort if the condition is left untreated.
Hymenolepiasis, as well as other intestinal parasites, is not limited to impoverished communities. In most cases, a person is infected by eating and drinking contaminated food items – which could be traced to problems in food preparation. However, there are natural remedies to this situation, and it can be used to prevent further complications or even treat the condition altogether.
While these treatments may vary in effect depending on the person, for the most part, it’s also best to avoid sugars, flours, and fats that may further irritate the gut.
To treat hymenolepiasis, most healthcare professionals use various anti-parasitic drugs to remove the worm from the body. In general, a patient is made to take the medicine for four to five days, after which the stools are analyzed to see whether the procedure is effective. Once treated, medications are taken monthly to prevent relapse.
Hymenolepiasis is an infection caused by the worms H. nana and H. diminuta. The infection is usually transmitted through a fecal-oral transmission, where it does not need an intermediate host. Infections are caused by eating food items that have been contaminated by insects. Children are more prone to be infected by H. nana, as well as people in crowded environments or those confined in institutions.
Hymenolepiasis is asymptomatic, but symptoms may occur in heavy infections.
To treat the condition, most healthcare professionals use various anti-parasitic drugs to remove the worm from the body.
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