Stool Parasites

Intestinal parasites cause significant morbidity and mortality. Diseases caused by Enterobius vermicularis, Giardia lamblia, Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus, and Entamoeba histolytica occur in the United States. E. vermicularis, or pinworm, causes irritation and sleep disturbances. Diagnosis can be made using the “cellophane tape test.” Treatment includes mebendazole and household sanitation. Giardia causes nausea, vomiting, malabsorption, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Stool ova and parasite studies are diagnostic. Treatment includes metronidazole. Sewage treatment, proper handwashing, and consumption of bottled water can be preventive. A. duodenale and N. americanus are hookworms that cause blood loss, anemia, pica, and wasting.

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