Trichuriasis, or whipworm, is among the most prevalent of all the helminthic parasites of mankind; a conservative estimate is that more than half a billion individuals are infected.1 A recent survey of the literature suggested that there are 2.5 million individuals with trichuriasis in the continental United States, mainly in the rural southeast. A large-scale study in Puerto Rico revealed a 75% infection rate in 6-year-old children. Trichuris trichiura has an exceedingly simple life cycle, in which ingested eggs hatch in the small bowel and the larvae pass directly down into their final habitat in the colon. The head of the worm is embedded in the mucosa, from which it appears to take up minute amounts of blood. Most individuals with trichuriasis have relatively light infections of no clinical significance. Heavy infections, which occur mainly in young children, may result in disease manifestations. Whereas treatment in the past has been inadequate, an effective nontoxic drug has recently been developed.
KeywordsRectal Prolapse Worm Burden Heavy Infection Helminthic Infection Trichuris Trichiura
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