Worming Their Way Back: Forgotten and New Helminths Continue to Become More Common in the United States

By Appold, Karen | Journal of Continuing Education Topics & Issues, August 2008 | Go to article overview

Worming Their Way Back: Forgotten and New Helminths Continue to Become More Common in the United States


Appold, Karen, Journal of Continuing Education Topics & Issues


Despite efforts to eradicate the world of parasites, such as anti-helminth drugs and control measures, parasitic worms persisted in great numbers in many parts of the world, the World Health Organization noted in 1984. Around this same time, some forgotten helminths, i.e. intestinal worms, thought to have disappeared, started to appear once again. Today, the United States continues to see more and more parasites making a comeback.

This is occurring because as a cosmopolitan society, more U.S. citizens are traveling and more people are immigrating to or seeking refuge in the United States, said (the late) "Chris" Christian, BS, MT(AMT), director emeritus, School of Medical Technology, Southwest Oklahoma State University, Sayre. People are disrupted in their homelands due to malnutrition, evacuation and war. Because of living conditions and circumstances, they are picking up parasites and bringing them to the United States. In addition to parasites found prior to the 1950s, helminths not native to the United States are now being identified.

"We've heard about bacteria that have learned to survive in an antibiotic world," Christian said. "Now we are finding that parasites, too, are having revenge by returning to us."

When people displaced from native areas, including Asia, Africa, Puerto Rico and Mexico, were transported to various sites in western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, state health agencies contacted the college president and asked if Sayre's program could help with physical examinations. Because Christian was a medical technologist and director of the medical technology department, he volunteered to assist in this project. Students, along with Christian, performed blood counts on these people. Some were emaciated and many were asked to provide stool specimens.

"You can't believe the parasites those people are bringing into our country," he noted. In one rare instance, a man was infested with three different types of parasites: hookworm, Trichostrongylus and Strongyloides.

Three types of helminths are nematodes (roundworms), cestodes (tapeworms) and trematodes (flukes). The former is making the greatest resurgence in the United States, Christian said.

When diagnosing parasites, Christian advised learning their distinguishing features, such as where they thrive (e.g., lungs, blood, intestine); whether their ova are floaters or sinkers so you know whether to perform a concentration or dilution test; how they invade the body and what they look like.

Christian also provided a list of rules to follow when performing testing:

* Collect samples in a clean container. Some time ago, this wasn't standard procedure. People thought it was acceptable to bring urine samples to the laboratory in fruit jars, he noted.

* Send specimens to the lab as soon as possible. Don't place stool samples in an incubator.

* Request a patient provide three specimens from three different days, since parasites shower, i.e. sometimes appear as a lot or sometimes only a few, on different days.

Nematodes Found in Humans

When diagnosing nematodes, look for distinguishing characteristics of their eggs and locations of the worms in the human body. Christian provided an overview of some of these features.

Ascaris

Ascaris (Ascaris lumbricoides) is one of the most cosmopolitan worms worldwide. Eggs mature in soil. These embryonated ova are eaten, the larvae hatch out of the eggs in the intestine and through a liver-lung migration time, the larvae mature in individuals and occur in the small intestine. The eggs are round or ovoidal with a thick shell, are brown or yellow-brown and are corticated. This covering is occasionally lost and decorticated eggs have a colorless shell and may be mistaken for hookworm ova. Infertile eggs are elongated and usually triangular and oftentimes the shell is thin.

Ascaris is found in humid countries and thrive in areas of poor sanitation.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Worming Their Way Back: Forgotten and New Helminths Continue to Become More Common in the United States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.