A parasitic infection of the large intestine caused by whipworm (Trichocephalus trichiura). It is also called Trichuriasis.
Causes of Whipworm
Whipworm infection is a common worldwide infection which primarily affects children, who may become infected if they ingest soil contaminated with whipworm eggs. The ingested eggs hatch, and the whipworm embeds in the wall of the large intestine (cecum, colon, rectum). Whipworm is found throughout the world, in particular among countries with warm, humid climates. The main risk factor for infection is ingestion of eggs from soil contaminated with feces. Some outbreaks have been traced to contaminated vegetables (due to presumed soil contamination).
Signs and Symptoms of Whipworm
The development of symptoms depends on the burden of worms/eggs. Light infestations may lead to few or no symptoms. Heavy infestations may result in bloody diarrhea, iron-deficiency anemia and on occasion, rectal prolapse. Symptoms: Light infestations are frequently asymptomatic. Heavy infestations may have bloody diarrhea. Long-standing blood loss may lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Rectal prolapse is seen in severe cases among heavily burdened individuals.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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