Common Diseases in Human Beings - Helminthic Diseases

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Topics

  • Helminthic diseases
  • Ascariasis
  • Filariasis/ Elephantiasis
  • Taeniasis

Notes

Helminthic diseases:

Helminthes are mostly endoparasitic in the gut and blood of human beings and cause diseases called helminthiasis. The two most prevalent helminthic diseases are Ascariasis and Filariasis.

1) Ascaris:

  • Ascaris is a monogenic parasite and exhibits sexual dimorphism.
  • Ascariasis is a disease caused by the intestinal endoparasite Ascaris lumbricoides commonly called roundworms.
  • It is transmitted through ingestion of embryonated eggs through contaminated food and water. Children playing in contaminated soils are also prone to have a chance of transfer of eggs from hand to mouth.
  • The symptoms of the disease are abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, anaemia, irritability, and diarrhoea. A heavy infection can cause nutritional deficiency and severe abdominal pain and causes stunted growth in children. It may also cause enteritis, hepatitis, and bronchitis.

    Ascaris male and female worm

2) Filariasis:

  • Filariasis is caused by Wuchereria bancrofti, commonly called filarial worm.
  • It is found in the lymph vessels and lymph nodes of man.
  • Wuchereria bancrofti is sexually dimorphic, viviparous, and digenic.
  • The life cycle is completed in two hosts, the man, and the female Culex mosquito.
  • The female filarial worm gives rise to juveniles called microfilariae larvae.
  • In the lymph glands, the juveniles develop into adults.
  • The accumulation of the worms blocks the lymphatic system resulting in inflammation of the lymph nodes.
  • In some cases, the obstruction of lymph vessels causes elephantiasis or filariasis of the limbs, scrotum, and mammary glands. The genital organs are also often affected, resulting in gross deformities. 
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