The Ascaris Lumbricoides is a species of roundworm that can grow as long as one meter in length and causes Ascariasis (pronounced As-kuh-RYE-uh-sis), which is the most common roundworm infection found in humans worldwide.
More than 85% of infections have no symptoms, especially if the number of roundworms is small. Early stages of the infection can present symptoms such as bloating, fatigue and fever and progress towards abdominal pain, inflammation, nausea, swelling and diarrhea. When the larvae moves into the lungs, shortness of breath, reoccurring coughs and breathing problems can also present themselves.
Ascariasis is contracted through the consumption of contaminated food or water, the eggs can survive in soil for anything up to 2 years prior to being ingested. The infection is more common in places with poor sanitary conditions but has rapidly spread worldwide thanks to global travel.
Once an egg has been swallowed, it will hatch inside the stomach or intestinal tract as larvae where it burrows through the gut wall and moves via the bloodstream into the lungs where it will mature into an adult roundworm. Once matured, roundworms move back into the stomach and intestinal tract to reproduce and the cycle repeats. Some offspring will move to the lungs and others will be excreted via the faeces.
A pathogen stool or blood test can be used to test for roundworms (worms will often not appear for 60-70 days after contamination) but sometimes abdominal ultrasound, endoscopy, X-ray or CT scans are used to assess the extent of the infestation.
Convention treatments include antibiotics or surgery if the infestation is very severe but there are also some very potent natural and homeopathic parasitic remedies available.
More than 85% of infections have no symptoms, especially if the number of roundworms is small. Early stages of the infection can present symptoms such as bloating, fatigue and fever and progress towards abdominal pain, inflammation, nausea, swelling and diarrhea.