Hookworms are on the top
of the list when it comes to widespread parasitic infections. There
are many species of hookworm that have been found to infect animals.
However, there are two known species of hookworm known to directly
affect human beings: Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale.
While hookworms and hookworm disease are typically prevalent in
tropical and subtropical climates, you don’t have to live
in a third-world country to become exposed. Exposure to hookworm
disease can happen wherever anyone walks barefoot or with flimsy
shoes on soil where humans and animals may have defecated. Proof
that these parasites are a worldwide problem can be seen in recent
statistics from the World Health Organization which estimates close
to 750 million people throughout the world are currently infected.
Symptoms of hookworm disease are diarrhea, abdominal pain, colic,
intestinal cramps and bouts of nausea. As the worms grow throughout
your intestinal tract, diarrhea is usually the first symptom to
develop. Even people who are healthy can become infected with hookworms.
People who take good care of their bodies and can be considered
to be in nominally good health thanks to a steady diet of fruits
and vegetables can be infected with this disease without much discomfort.
However, for those with chronic infections, a serious case of anemia
can develop. Because the hookworms thrive on the blood and tissue
juices within intestines, persistent blood loss does occur and can
attribute to an anemic condition.
Contact your physician immediately should you suspect that you or
someone you know may have come into contact with a hookworm, or
if you contracted hookworm disease.