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Ascariasis. Consumption of fresh vegetables without processing can carry risks of infection


The probability of infection with helminths increases sharply in the spring and summer season, when people eat early vegetables.

How does infection occur, what are the symptoms and risks of ascariasis, as well as how to avoid getting this type of helminth? - explains ELLA MATIASH, a parasitologist at the Lviv Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine

What is ascariasis?

Ascariasis is a parasitic disease that belongs to geohelminthiasis (diseases in which helminths first develop in the human body, and then on an inanimate substrate, more often in the ground), that is, a certain cycle of ascaris development occurs through the soil.

According to WHO statistics, more than 1 billion people on the planet suffer from ascariasis. That is, every third adult can be infected with ascariasis. Children get sick more often, because the little one gets to know the world by tasting everything, and they also do not wash their hands thoroughly.

Ascariasis is the most common parasitic disease in Lviv Region, especially among rural residents and children.

According to the statistics of the Lviv Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 2,750 cases of ascariasis were registered in 2022. However, the real prevalence is much higher, since today there is no practice of organized examination, especially of children in kindergartens and elementary school students.

How does roundworm infection occur?

Ascariasis is not transmitted from person to person.

When a person eats, for example, strawberries or early greens, greens without heat treatment, he can swallow roundworm eggs. And already in the human body, ascariasis occurs in two phases:

The first is migratory, when roundworm eggs are carried throughout the body by the bloodstream, and later enter the intestine.

The second is that the eggs ripen in the intestine, later a sexually mature ascaris grows, which is able to release eggs into the external environment. There, it again enters the soil, where the cycle of development to a certain stage takes place again, and with poor-quality processing of vegetables and fruits, a person becomes infected with this type of parasite. It enters the soil and sewage with human excrement. And we have favorable conditions for the development of the parasite - humidity and a temperature of 15-20 degrees.

Danger of ascariasis

The danger of ascariasis lies in its complications, in particular, severe intoxication and intestinal obstruction.

Every year, 600,000 people die from intestinal obstruction worldwide, according to WHO statistics.

Ascaris is a roundworm that is parasitic mainly in the intestine because it feeds on digested food.

Ascaris grows in the human body to an average of 15 cm. The parasite can live in the body for up to two years. When a lot of them accumulate, then the food does not pass, intestinal obstruction occurs

If a large number of roundworms matures in the body, intestinal blockage occurs. Sometimes it happens that during the operation to remove the appendix, surgeons observe how a roundworm appears like an antenna during the incision.

Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ascariasis

Clinically, ascariasis manifests itself in different ways: from asymptomatic forms, which are possible, to such as allergies, anemia for no reason, the liver may be enlarged, digestive disorders - nausea, vomiting; pains in the intestinal area, especially around the navel.

Manifestations of ascariasis in a child that should alert parents:

Increased secretion of saliva in a child during sleep! This may indicate intoxication due to ascariasis

Allergic manifestations (dermatitis, eczema, parapsoriasis in the form of plaques on the skin) are also provoked by ascaris, because its waste products, getting into the blood, cause an allergic reaction

Disorders of the nervous system: the child becomes restless and excitable, grinds his teeth during sleep.

During the two-week migration phase, when roundworm eggs migrate through the bloodstream, through small blood vessels, a reaction may occur - itching of the skin. Also, during this period, a cough may appear at a completely normal body temperature, runny nose. This, again, is caused by the irritation of the nasopharynx infected with the eggs of the bloodstream helminth.

Parents should also keep an eye on the chair of a child who has to go to the toilet every day.

Prevention

The main rule: clean hands and processing vegetables, fruits and berries with boiling water.

If a person simply washed the vegetables with cold water, the remains of the earth with helminth eggs may remain. They can also be transmitted by various insects. Therefore, only heat treatment of vegetables will protect against infection.

It is worth following the rules of personal hygiene. Teach children to wash their hands.

Fertilizing your vegetable garden from cesspools cannot be used.

Try to buy vegetables with confidence that they were grown without their abuse and in compliance with recommendations.

It was noticed that roundworms "don't like" pumpkin seeds, tansy, cabbage juice. It can be used as an anthelmintic. Instead, they "love" sweets, because glucose is necessary for their reproduction and development cycle.

Diagnosis of ascariasis

Manifestations of ascariasis can be disguised as other diseases. However, with headache, weakness, nausea, indigestion, sleep disturbance, skin rash, allergic reactions, you should o check for the presence of helminths.

To do this, you need to submit feces for research, and even for prevention: at least once a year for an adult, and twice a year for a child. This analysis should be taken three times with an interval of 1-2 days.

The presence of ascariasis can also be "suggested" by the result of a general blood test. If there is anemia, and as a result the number of eosinophils will be higher than one, it is worth checking for helminths.

Material for laboratory testing for the presence of various helminths, in particular, roundworms, can be brought to the Lviv Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention at the address: Lviv, str. Krupyarska, 27.

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