Chapter 217

More than a billion persons worldwide are infected with one or more species of intestinal nematodes. Table 217-1 summarizes biologic and clinical features of infections due to the major intestinal parasitic nematodes. These parasites are most common in regions with poor fecal sanitation, particularly in resource-poor countries in the tropics and subtropics, but they have also been seen with increasing frequency among immigrants and refugees to resource-rich countries. Although nematode infections are not usually fatal, they contribute to malnutrition and diminished work capacity. It is interesting that these helminth infections may protect some individuals from allergic disease. Humans may on occasion be infected with nematode parasites that ordinarily infect animals; these zoonotic infections produce diseases such as trichostrongyliasis, anisakiasis, capillariasis, and abdominal angiostrongyliasis.

Table 217-1 Major Human Intestinal Parasitic Nematodes

Intestinal nematodes are roundworms; they range in length from 1 mm to many centimeters when mature (Table 217-1). Their life cycles are complex and highly varied; some species, including Strongyloides stercoralis and Enterobius vermicularis, can be transmitted directly from person to person, while others, such as Ascaris lumbricoides, Necator americanus, and Ancylostoma duodenale, require a soil phase for development. Because most helminth parasites do not self-replicate, the acquisition of a heavy burden of adult worms requires repeated exposure to the parasite in its infectious stage, whether larval or egg. Hence, clinical disease, as opposed to asymptomatic infection, generally develops only with prolonged residence in an endemic area ...

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