Worms as bright representatives of parasitism on Earth are a big problem not only for the individual infected people, but also for whole countries, where they sometimes become a real disaster. Usually, when people talk about worms, they mostly imagine small white worms living in the human gut. But in fact, the types of worms in humans are extremely diverse, both in size and in terms of longevity. Some species of helminths (so-called worms in the medical literature) can only be seen in a powerful optical device, but there are species that reach a length of 18-20 meters and parasitize in humans up to twenty years.
Infection of people (especially children) with worms is common. The helminth eggs, which the female reproduces in huge quantities, are extremely resistant and adapted to the internal conditions of stay in the human body and to the external environment into which they enter with the feces.
The shell of the eggs reliably protects them from mechanical external influences and climatic factors, including heat and cold. There, they wait for a favorable opportunity to enter the body of their "host", where they immediately fixate, develop, transform into ready sexually mature individuals and re-infect the "host" with a huge number of eggs, which begin a new stage of reproduction. Then we will take a closer look at what worms are in humans.
What types of worms are found in humans
The classification of helminths can be based on various characteristics - for example, the place of their parasitism in the human body. On this basis, they are divided into intestinal and extraintestinal.
Intestinal worms are parasites that have adapted to live in the gastrointestinal tract. These are round and tapeworms.
Extraterrestrial worms are those that have adapted to parasitize other human organs - such as the eyes, liver, lungs and even the brain.
It is possible to classify helminth varieties by the way they enter the body of the main host. On this basis, they are divided into infectious, biohelminthic and geohelminthic.
Infectious worms are those that an infected person transmits to a healthy person during communication. For children, transfer items may include toys. This group of helminths includes pinworms and dwarf tapeworms.
Biohelminths are those that are transmitted to humans through communication with animals, as well as in the case of eating poorly processed meat. The animals in this case are called "intermediate" helminth hosts. This species includes beef and pork tapeworms.
Geohelminthic worm species include those whose part of their life is spent in the soil (earth), as a result of which their name has the prefix "geo". Infection with this variety of worms can occur through unwashed fruits or vegetables. This group includes helminths such as trichina and roundworm.
Worm varieties can be classified according to their biological characteristics. In this case, they are divided into flat, which in turn consist of trematodes, cestodes and nematodes.
Characteristics of human worms
Let's start with the round parasites - these are nematodes. They have an elongated round body. Their life cycle occurs when owners change. This infection is common in children. These include the following types of worms.
- Ascarids parasitize the gut, and they move easily through it, poisoning the entire host organism and living in it for more than a year. Their length reaches half a meter.
- Hookworm and some (due to their great similarity, they combine into a "hookworm"). 15 mm long, live in the duodenum, feed on blood. They can enter humans through both the mouth with food and the skin (eg barefoot on contaminated soil).
- Hairhead up to 4 cm long. It feeds on blood, sucking the lining of the large or appendix. It has been a parasite in humans for five years.
- Oysters are small parasites up to 1 cm long. They parasitize the large and small intestines. Life expectancy is about 1, 5 months. Children are most susceptible to infection.
- Trichinella is found in the heart, lungs, eyes. Length - no more than 1 cm. Penetrate a person with food - poorly cooked meat. They live up to two years.
Flatworms are classified as methyl and cestode.
Trematodes are helminths with a leaf-like body with two suction cups (one is used to attach to the host's body, the other is used for feeding). The size of the body can be from a few millimeters to one and a half meters. The development of such types of worms occurs with the use of an intermediate "host" of them. In the main "host" they live in the digestive tract. They do not need their own digestive system because they parasitize completely at the expense of their host's food resources. With a strong infection with this helminth, people begin to lose weight, even if they eat a lot. The following parasites are called trematodes.
- Liver fluke - helminth up to 20 mm, lives in the liver. A person can become infected by eating poorly processed fish.
- Fluke - helminth up to 1, 5 cm. Lives in the gallbladder. These helminths, their species are found in our country, but there are also tropical species.
- Schistosomes are trematodes that live in the blood of the host. They live in warm countries. 30 mm long, 1 mm in diameter. A characteristic of this parasite is that its female lives a lifetime in a special fold of the male. They live like this for several years and give a huge number of eggs. A person can get schistosomes while swimming.
Cestodes are worms with a segmental body structure. The segments grow successively from the main compartment of the helminth and move further and further towards the tail during its life. As they move, a huge number of eggs are fertilized and grow in them. Once they reach the caudal end, they fall out of the body of the uterus, with human feces enter the external environment, where they begin the next phase of life. In the main host, they live in the gut, adhering to special shoots up to 20 Ð¼.
Let's look at the types of helminths in more detail.
- Pork tapeworm- helminth up to 2 m, lives in the small intestine. Heat-poorly processed pork is the source of this infection. The human body for porcine tapeworm is an intermediate host, which follows from its very name.
- Echinococcusis a helminth that also uses humans as an intermediate host. Dogs and cats are the main carriers. Echinococcal colonies cannot be treated in humans, only surgically removed.
- Taurus of the bull(up to 10 m). It lives in the small intestine, for which there are suction cups. Heat-treated beef is the main source (hence the name beef).
- Wide tapeworm(up to 20 m) lives in the small intestine. Infection occurs through poorly heat-treated crabs and fish.
A wide variety of helminth species in humans cause severe dysfunction.
Symptoms of worm infection
The symptoms of the disease depend on the type of helminth that has struck a person. They can be very diverse, as these parasites can live in almost all parts of the human body and organs. Varieties of worms cause the most common symptoms of infection:
- itching in the anal area;
- diarrhea and other stool disorders;
- abdominal pain;
- weight loss;
- increased appetite;
- muscle pain;
- sleep disorders;
- allergic manifestations;
- increased fatigue.
Treatment and prevention of worm infestation (infection)
The types of helminthiasis (groups of infectious diseases) depend on the type of helminth and its localization in the human body. In this case, helminthiasis can be latent or severe, sometimes fatal. In general, there are as many helminthiases as all types of helminths, and so far no universal cure for all parasites has been found. Therefore, for effective treatment, you need to know exactly what type of parasite a person has become infected with.
Many drugs for the treatment of helminths have been developed and tested in medicine. Many of them are toxic to the patient, so self-medication is not recommended. If you suspect an infection, you should see a specialist.
It should be noted that often primary treatment destroys only adults from worms, but their eggs and larvae remain viable in the body and after some time after treatment, worms may reappear with symptoms. Therefore, repeated use of these drugs is possible.
Folk remedies for the treatment of worms
Here are some time-tested folk remedies for the treatment of worms with consistently positive results. In everyday life, everyone should be able to fight this parasite with affordable and cheap means. These products include pumpkin and flax seeds (both raw and in the form of a decoction), pumpkin oil, onion decoction, decoctions of wormwood, tansy and ginger, garlic with milk.
But it's better not to get helminths at all. For this, well-known preventive measures should be applied - hand washing, processing of vegetables and fruits, heat treatment of pork, beef and fish, taking care when working with pets. Constantly following these simple rules will drastically reduce the risk of helminth infection.