Worm infection

Last updated: Thursday, 23, December, 2010
Key InformationAppropriate Tests

Clinical manifestations depend on stage of life cycle and site of infection.

Geographical exposure may indicate which parasites are likely.

Faeces - ova, cysts and parasites; macroscopic identification of live worm passed in faeces.

Histological diagnosis on tissue biopsy (eg, Schistosoma haematobium). 

Specific serology to detect antibodies against certain helminths is available, but generally these tests do not distinguish between previous and present infection. 

Nematodes (roundworms)

Trematodes (flukes)

Cestodes (tapeworms)

Manifestations

 

Asymptomatic

Itch

Urticaria

Eosinophilia

Abdominal pain

Lung infiltrate

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is unusual, unless there is a particularly heavy infestation of round worms.