Contagious: Hookworm


advertisement

About contagion: Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily the spread of Hookworm is possible from one person to another. Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness", "transmission" or "transmissability". Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics or inheriting diseases from parents. For an overview of contagion, see Introduction to Contagion.

Contagion summary: Spread by human feces in areas of poor sanitation.


Contagiousness properties of Hookworm:
  Contagious overall?: Yes
  Contagious from water?: Yes, if contamined by feces.
  Contagious from food?: Yes, if contamined by feces.
  Contagious from feces?: Yes

Contagion summary: People usually get this infection by walking barefoot over contaminated soil.1

Contagion discussion: Hookworms have a complex life cycle that begins and ends in the small intestine. Hookworm eggs require warm, moist, shaded soil to hatch into larvae. These barely visible larvae penetrate the skin (often through bare feet), are carried to the lungs, go through the respiratory tract to the mouth, are swallowed, and eventually reach the small intestine. This journey takes about a week. In the small intestine, the larvae develop into half-inch-long worms, attach themselves to the intestinal wall, and suck blood. The adult worms produce thousands of eggs. These eggs are passed in the feces (stool). If the eggs contaminate soil and conditions are right, they will hatch, molt, and develop into infective larvae again after 5 to 10 days. 2

People usually get this infection by walking barefoot over contaminated soil. In penetrating the skin, the larvae may cause an allergic reaction. It is from the itchy patch at the place where the larvae entered that the early infection gets its nickname "ground itch." Once larvae have broken through the skin, they enter the bloodstream and are carried to the lungs. (Unlike ascarids, however, hookworms do not usually cause pneumonia.) The larvae migrate from the lungs up the windpipe to be swallowed and carried back down to the intestine.1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Parasitic Roundworm Diseases, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID
2. excerpt from Hookworm Infection: DPD

Last revision: April 9, 2003

Medical Tools & Articles:


Next articles:

Medical Articles:
 
 
CureResearch.comTM Copyright © 2010 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved.
Home | Contents | Search | Site Map | Feedback | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | About Us | Advertise