Parasite Infection of the Intestine
Parasitic infection is a digestive disease caused by infection
of parasitic microorganisms and worms.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parasitic Infection
The symptoms of intestinal parasite infection are:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss and malnutrition
- Anal itching or pruritus ani, also itching in the genital
- In children, urinating in bed
How Is It Diagnosed?
To diagnose parasitic infection, your doctor may order the following
- Stool test
The stool test would reveal the presence of worms or cysts.
- Blood test
This test would reveal the immune reaction against Giardia and
the presence of white blood cells called eosinophils, which
fights parasitic infection.
- Physical examination
S welling of the face, hands and feet are diagnosis of an allergic
reaction to the toxins secreted by parasitic worms.
Causes of Intestinal Parasitic Infection
The culprit parasites include:
These parasites are transmitted through:
- The fecal-oral route
This form of food contamination is caused mainly by unsanitary
handling of food by food handlers who do not wash their hands
well after going to the bathroom.
- Contaminated drinking water
Giardia, cryptosporidia, and microsporidia parasites are common
in rivers, streams, lakes, well water, and even in tap water
in some cities.
- Through the skin
Some parasites are able to burrow through the skin, for example
when you are swimming or standing barefoot in a river. Some
ground worms are able to burrow from the ground and enter the
body through the sole of the feet.
How Can It Be Prevented?
Prevent parasitic infection by following these precautions:
- Drink only bottled water
- Do not drink unboiled or unfiltered water from rivers, streams,
- If your tap water or well water is contaminated: boil or filter
the water before drinking.
- Do not eat undercooked pork and meat, such as steak tartare,
as trichinosis and tape worm are found in these food.
- Do not walk barefoot in rivers and pastures.
What is the treatment for parasitic infection?
Depending on the specific culprit parasite, anti-parasite medications
are prescribed to treat this condition.