Worm diseases are common in both plants and animals. Worms are parasites which depend on their host for food and other necessities. Worm diseases are quite common mostly in developing countries. Although most worm diseases are not fatal, there exists quite a number of them which are might cause death. Most worm diseases are transferred into their victims though ingestion. Making sure that the water you drink is clean and the food you eat, especially meat is well cooked can prevent most of these worm diseases which are mostly parasitic.
Ascariasis is one of the most common worm diseases in humans. It is caused by a type of roundworm known as Ascaris lumbricoides. The roundworm can be as long as 13 inches. It is more common in children than in adults. Heavy infection of roundworms can cause serious abdominal pains and blockages in the digestive system and particularly the intestines. If not checked, the worm can infect the lungs causing constant coughing and difficulty in breathing. Poor hygiene and sanitation are a major cause of infection by this worm.
Tapeworms are also a common cause of worm diseases in humans. Tapeworm infections occur mainly from Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm). Tapeworms mostly infect humans by ingestion of raw meat infected with the worms. The tapeworms enter the human body, mature and continue relying on it. Tapeworm infection may cause cysticercosis which is a condition where tapeworm larvae migrate to other parts of the body like the muscles, brain and the liver.
Pinworms whose scientific name is Enterobius vermicularis is a common worm infection in most countries including the US. Pinworm infections are most common in children and in people living in crowded areas. Infection occurs as a result of ingestion of eggs through contaminated foods, water or hands. Pin worms cause itching in the digestive tract and mostly the anus, loss of appetite and abdominal pains.
Heartworm disease is one of various parasitic worm diseases which is caused by worms living in the circulation system of animals. It’s mostly common in dogs and cats. In other mammals the worms may live in the lungs or in the heart. Rare cases of infection in humans have been reported. Symptoms include vomiting, weight loss and difficulty in breathing. Treatment is readily available for dogs but cats are able to cure themselves of the parasite.
Dracunculiasis commonly referred to as guinea worm disease is a skin disease caused by the dracunculus parasite. Various forms of the dracunculus parasite have been found in dogs, cats, horses and cattle. The parasite infects its host through ingestion of stagnant water containing guinea worm larvae. The parasite incubates for up to a year before the female worms cause painful blisters mostly on the legs. Guinea worm disease can be prevented by disinfecting drinking water.
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Trichinosis is another of the parasitic worm diseases caused by larva of trinchinella spiralis which is a member of a larger species of round worms. They larvae enter their hosts through ingestion of undercooked or raw meat from pigs and wild game. Symptoms include fever, muscle pains and bleeding of the retina. Treatment is readily available using drugs like mebendazole which interrupt the life cycle of the parasite preventing it from multiplying.