o The Frog Blog: Science Fact of the Week

Monday, 24 November 2008

Science Fact of the Week

800 Million people world wide are infected with Hookworms! That's approx 12% of the entire human population, and as many as 35 people in St. Columba's!


The hookworm is a parasitic nematode worm that lives in the small intestine of its host, which may be a mammal such as a dog, cat, or human. Two species of hookworms commonly infect humans, Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus. Necator americanus predominates in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, China, and Indonesia, while A. duodenale predominates in the Middle East, North Africa, India and (formerly) in southern Europe. Hookworms are much smaller than the large roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, and the complications of tissue migration and mechanical obstruction so frequently observed with roundworm infestation are less frequent in hookworm infestation. The most significant risk of hookworm infection is anaemia, a lack of iron in the diet. The worms suck blood voraciously and damage the mucosa. However, the blood loss in the stools is occult blood loss (not visibly apparent).

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