Suckling worms in stagnant water
Bilharziosis is particularly dangerous: it is transmitted by sucking worms, also called schistosomes (leeches); These live in stagnant waters of Asia, Africa, Central and South America and can be transmitted by short-term contact. The WHO estimates that more than 200 million people are affected worldwide. The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg explains that schistosomiasis can occur only where the intermediate hosts of the pathogens, which are certain freshwater snails, occur. Humans become infected on the shores of inland waters, through the larvae that can invade the skin. Here it comes to a rash.
Through the lymphatic and blood systems as well as the lungs, the larvae reach the liver, where they grow into mature worms within about six weeks. They then settle in the blood vessels of the intestinal tract or urinary tract, depending on the nature of the pathogens, to produce their eggs, which in turn causes inflammation, bleeding and tissue damage.
About 20 to 60 days after the infection, fever, chills, headache, cough, liver, spleen and lymph node swelling may occur, these symptoms usually disappear after a few weeks, but even the most severe fatalities have been reported. After about six months to several years after infection, the chronic stage begins.
Organ damage after worm infestation
In low worm infestation, it usually comes only to mild discomfort. With massive Verwurmung on the other hand organ-specific complaints can occur. The Darmbilharziose may manifest itself by fatigue, weight loss, indigestion, abdominal pain and bloody-slimy diarrhea.
Liver bilharzia is the most severe form: swelling of the liver and spleen is followed by congestion with water retention in the abdomen and swelling of veins in the abdominal skin and esophagus. The bursting of the veins leads to life-threatening blood loss.
Bladder liposomiasis can cause a variety of bladder and urinary tract discomfort, while in late stages urine is often bloody. The most famous complication is bladder cancer. The diagnosis is made with the help of specialized laboratories. If treated early with medication, bilharzia heals properly.
Roundworms are very common
In the tropics and warm regions of Europe live the 15 to 40 centimeters long, white roundworms: The eggs of this parasite are found in the stool, in sewage sludge or on fertilized vegetables. With the food they get into the body. They settle in the small intestine, their maggots pierce the intestinal wall and enter the heart with the bloodstream, then into the lungs.
Roundworm infestation is one of the most common intestinal worm infections - estimates by the World Health Organization indicate that around a quarter of the world's population is affected. There are allergic reactions and bronchitis when worming pass through the lungs.
Complaints in the intestine occur only with heavy infestation: colic, nausea, malnutrition and anemia. Rarely does a roundworm coil lead to a small intestinal occlusion. Eggs excreted with the stool remain viable for months at favorable conditions. However, there is no direct transmission from person to person. About two months after the infection, the eggs can be detected in the stool.
A roundworm infestation is treated with mebendazole, a medicine that works against a variety of worm species. Mebendazole kills the worms, with treatment lasting three days.