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Trichuriasis – Signs and Symptoms

Trichuriasis

is a parasitic infection which is primarily caused by Trichuris trichiura, a parasite whip worm. The infection occurs in the large intestine of humans. One of the main risk factors for this parasitic infection is ingestion of larval eggs from soil contaminated with fecal matter. Also, consuming drinking water contaminated with larval eggs is a reason for the manifestation of trichuriasis in humans. A few other outbreaks have been reported due to intake of contaminated vegetables. Read on to know more about the

signs and symptoms of trichuriasis

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The manifestation of symptoms depends on the amount of eggs/worms found in the intestine. Light infestations are usually asymptomatic whereas heavy infestations may exhibit rectal prolapses and bloody diarrhea. This heavy blood loss may aggravate into a iron-deficiency anemic condition. This is prevalent in severe cases of infection. Trichuriasis is prevalent all over the world, especially in countries where the climate is warm and humid. Also, this mainly affects children.

Signs and Symptoms of Trichuriasis

Most of the infections are mild or asymptomatic. In the first week, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea may occur. In the second week, systemic signs and symptoms initiate. These include:

  • Subconjunctival hemorrhages – Bleeding underneath the conjunctiva
  • Petechiae – Purple or red spot on the body due to capillaries leakage
  • Headache
  • Persistent fever
  • Myalgia
  • Periorbital or facial edema
  • Photophobia and eye pain may precede myagia
  • Muscles of swallowing, mastication, speech and respiration may be painful. This may resemble polymyositis
  • Eosinophilia – Increase in eosinophil count

The signs and symptoms in the case of heavy infection include:

  • Severe dyspnea – Shortness of breath
  • Pulmonary complications like pleurisy, pneumonitis
  • Neurological complications like seizures, auditory or visual disorders, meningitis, encephalitis
  • Cardiac complications like arrhythmia, heart failure, myocarditis

The signs and symptoms resolve gradually, and mostly disappear by the third month. By this time, the larvae becomes fully encysted in the muscle cells. These are excluded from other tissues and organs. Fatigue and muscular pains may continue for few months. Chronic diarrhea may be caused due to recurrent infections by T. Nativa in northern latitudes.

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