Doctors have shown pictures of a bowlful of parasitic worms they pulled out from a young boy’s intestine.
The photo shows a pile of worms in a metal bowl on a table after the 4-year-old boy was treated for a life-threatening infection.
He was taken to a hospital complaining of vomiting, stomach pain, severe constipation, and a swollen abdomen. Doctors learned that the child had never been tested for worms.
They managed to remove the live worms and sent the child home after a week. They also gave his whole family medicine to protect them against the infection.
Doctors in Cameroon, West Africa reported his case in the Menchum Division. The boy was diagnosed with ascariasis, a parasitic worm infection in the intestine.
Ascariasis is the most common parasitic infection and affects around 800 million people. Contaminated food, water and soil and poor sanitation are generally the causes of infection, said the doctors.
During the child’s operation, surgeons found his intestine was completely blocked by a ‘mass of writhing worms.’
The medics, led by Dr. Valirie Ndip Agbor, said: “Our patient was four-years old and reported to have never been dewormed since birth.
“This most probably led to a high worm burden and culminated in [intestinal obstruction].
“This highlights the importance of regular deworming (biannually or at least annually) to clear off adult worms and their eggs from the bowel, in order to reduce worm burden and prevent the occurrence of life-threatening chronic complications.”
They also said that a lack of health education and money make it hard to control the spread of the infection.
“The community needs to be sensitized on the importance of regular deworming and healthy practices such as: boiling water prior to drinking; proper hand washing with water and soap before handling food; and proper washing and cooking of vegetables before their consumption,” they wrote in a report.
“Discouraging practices such as the use of human feces as manure in farms, while encouraging the use of toilets (avoiding open defecation) and development of proper animal (particularly pig) sewage disposal systems could equally help prevent transmission.”
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