Enterobiasis

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A pinworm infection or enterobiasis is a human parasitic disease and one of the most common childhood parasitic worm infections in the developed world.[1][2] It is caused by infestation with the parasitic roundworm Enterobius vermicularis, commonly called the human pinworm.[3] Infection usually occurs through the ingestion of pinworm eggs, either through contaminated hands, food, or less commonly, water.[4] The chief symptom is itching in the anal area.[4] The incubation time from ingestion of eggs to the first appearance of new eggs around the anus is 4 to 6 weeks.[5] Pinworms are usually considered a nuisance rather than a serious disease.[4] Treatment is straightforward in uncomplicated cases, however, elimination of the parasite from a family group or institution often poses significant problems—either due to an incomplete cure or reinfection.[4] Pinworm infection has no association with any socioeconomic level, race or culture.[6]

Contents

Signs and symptoms

One third of individuals with pinworm infection are totally asymptomatic.[5] The main symptoms are pruritus ani and perineal pruritus, i.e., itching in and around the anus and around the perineum.[5][7][8] The itching occurs mainly during the night,[7][9] and is caused by the female pinworms migrating to lay eggs around the anus.[4][8] Both the migrating females and the clumps of eggs are irritating, but the mechanisms causing the intense pruritus have not been explained.[9] The intensity of the itching varies, and it can be described as tickling, crawling sensations, or even acute pain.[10] The itching leads to continuously scratching the area around the anus, which further results in tearing of the skin and complications such as secondary bacterial infections, including bacterial dermatitis (i.e., skin inflammation) and folliculitis (i.e., hair follicle inflammation).[7][8][10] General symptoms are insomnia (i.e., persistent difficulties to sleep) and restlessness.[7] A considerable proportion of children suffer from anorexia (i.e., loss of appetite), weightloss, irritability, emotional instability, and enuresis (i.e., inability to control urination).[7]

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