Helminths are the oldest and most numerous inhabitants of our planet. It is known that they can live almost anywhere, and for many of them the human body is the optimal environment for existence. There the parasite is not only maximally protected from external influences, but can also absorb the nutrients necessary for its growth and development. Not all helminthiasis have pronounced symptoms (like the same enterobiasis): often a person does not even suspect that uninvited guests live in their body. How can a parasitic invasion be detected?
Why are helminths dangerous to the human body?
Despite the fact that helminths can live asymptomatically in the human body for a long time, this by no means means that their vital activity is safe. All parasites in the process of growth, development and death secrete certain substances that contribute to sensitization of the body and the development of allergic reactions. A rash, itchy skin, and even anaphylactic shock can be the result of parasitic worms.
In addition, many helminths are localized in the patient's gastrointestinal tract and interfere with the processes of normal digestion and absorption of nutrients. The patient notices the appearance of weakness, tiredness, dizziness and lightheadedness, which may be associated with the development of anemia. Brittle nails, hair, dry skin and mucous membranes can be the result of iron deficiency, hypovitaminosis and lack of mineral components. Against the background of chronic diarrhea, some patients develop dehydration and even increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
Many helminths act mechanically on the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. Suction cups and hooks injure the tissues, which contributes to the formation of ulcerative and erosive changes. There are also known cases of the development of inflammation of the appendix process against the background of helminthiasis.
Who should be tested?
In fact, everyone is at risk. Almost all people eat meat or fish, vegetables, fruits and berries, drink uncooked water and swim in reservoirs. Children are particularly at risk in this regard: they are most likely to have helminth eggs. Toddlers tend to put dirty toys and other items in their mouths, cuddle with stray and domestic cats and dogs, and break personal hygiene rules. There are different types of analysis:
Their goal is to detect parasitic worms in a timely manner, even if there are no signs. It is recommended to undergo such an examination at least once a year.
They are designed to prevent helminthiasis from spreading among people. When a child enters a preschool institution or goes to the pool, it is imperative to present a certificate. Doctors and nutritionists should also undergo a similar test.
If you suspect the development of helminthiasis (epidemiological history and specific complaints), the specialist will prescribe a number of studies. This will allow you to diagnose the disease in a timely manner and begin treatment.
Analysis for worm eggs
A fairly popular method of detecting worm eggs is by examining feces. In this case, no additional preparation is required: you just need to collect the biological material in a special jar and bring it to the laboratory. However, experts recommend not taking any antiparasitic drugs before the test. This can affect the accuracy. It's also worth noting that the analysis must be submitted at least three times to rule out false positives and false negatives. Today, the examination of feces for worm eggs is gradually giving way to newer methods - the determination of antibodies against a certain parasite in the blood.
How do you recognize enterobiasis?
Enterobiasis is one of the most common helminthiasis, and pinworms cause it. The disease is common in school children and kindergarten teachers, but adults are also at risk of infection. The main symptom of the disease is severe itching in the perianal region. Enterobiasis is diagnosed by obtaining a swab or scraping from the area near the anus. This is due to the fact that the female of the pathogen leaves the intestines to lay eggs on the surface of the folds of the skin. The procedure is done before you go to the bathroom and wash yourself in the morning for an accurate result.
Diagnosis of ascariasis
Roundworms are worms whose body length can reach up to 40 centimeters. They can move throughout the body and affect not only the gastrointestinal tract but also the lungs. Sputum and fecal samples can be used as research material: they contain the genetic material of the parasite. Ascaris eggs are also often found in the patient's feces. However, the most effective diagnostic method is the detection of specific antibodies against the antigens of the parasitic worm in the patient's blood.
How to identify opisthorchiasis
Feline accident causes opisthorchiasis, which is characterized by predominant liver damage. That is why Opisthorchus eggs are found not only in feces, but also in duodenal juice. In recent years, the enzyme immunoassay has been widely used for the detection of antibodies against opisthorchia. Helminths can also be detected using the polymerase chain reaction, which is effective even with a small amount of biological material.
Identification of trichinosis
Trichinella is a helminth that primarily affects muscles, but can migrate to the central nervous system and cause irreversible changes. If the development of this helminthiasis was suspected, a muscle biopsy was performed beforehand, but this has been replaced by serological methods in recent years. The detection of Trichinella antibodies in the patient's blood is the reason for the diagnosis.