Ascaris lumbricoides- Lab Diagnosis, Treatments, Prophylaxis


Ascaris lumbricoides is a large parasitic worm that causes ascariasis in humans. It belongs to the genus Ascaris, which includes several species of roundworms that infect animals. A. lumbricoides is the most common parasitic worm in humans, affecting an estimated 807 million to 1.2 billion people worldwide. It is more prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions, where sanitation and hygiene are poor.

A. lumbricoides has a complex life cycle that involves migration through various organs of the human body. The infection begins when a person ingests eggs that are shed in the feces of an infected person and contaminate the soil, water, or food. The eggs hatch in the small intestine and release larvae that penetrate the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The larvae then travel to the lungs, where they break out of the capillaries and enter the air sacs (alveoli). From there, they move up the respiratory tract and are coughed up and swallowed again. The larvae then reach the small intestine again, where they mature into adult worms and mate. Adult worms can live for up to 18 months and produce up to 200,000 eggs per day. The eggs are passed out with feces and can survive in the soil for up to 10 years.

Most people with A. lumbricoides infection do not have any symptoms or mild symptoms such as abdominal discomfort or pain. However, in some cases, the infection can cause serious complications such as intestinal obstruction, malnutrition, growth retardation, liver or pancreatic damage, allergic reactions, or respiratory distress. The diagnosis of A. lumbricoides infection can be made by finding eggs or worms in stool samples, bile samples, sputum samples, or gastric washings. Blood tests may also show eosinophilia (increased number of eosinophils) or antibodies against the parasite. Imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasound, or endoscopy may also reveal worms in the intestines or other organs. The treatment of A. lumbricoides infection involves taking anti-parasitic drugs such as albendazole, ivermectin, or mebendazole, which kill the adult worms and prevent further egg production. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove worms that cause obstruction or complications. The prevention of A. lumbricoides infection requires improving sanitation and hygiene practices, such as using latrines, washing hands, treating sewage, and avoiding raw or unwashed vegetables or fruits.