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Ankylostomiasis Definition

Ankylostomiasis, derived from the Greek words “anclo” (crooked or bent) and “stoma” (mouth), is the disease caused by hookworms. It is also known as tunnel disease, Egyptian chlorosis, Miner's anemia, helminthiasis and Brickmaker's anaemia. Ankylostomiasis is a condition caused by large numbers of hookworms present that produce iron deficiency anemia by aggressively sucking blood from its host's intestinal walls. Hookworm is the leasing cause of child and maternal morbidity in areas of the tropics and subtropics. In children, Ankylostomiasis could cause growth retardation, prematurity, intellection and cognitive retardation, intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight for newborns with infected mothers. Ankylostomiasis is rarely fatal, but severe anemia could be present with patients heavily infected with the disease.

Ankylostomiasis Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Ankylostomiasis involves finding characteristics of the worm eggs through a microscopic examination of stools. However, this method of diagnosis is not effective during the early stages of Ankylostomiasis. Adult hookworms are rarely seen through a microscope, but it could be found through surgery, autopsy or endoscopy.

Ankylostomiasis Symptoms and Signs

There are no specific signs or symptoms of Ankylostomiasis. However, intestinal inflammation and anemia (caused by iron or protein deficiency) may occur. When larvae attack the skin, it could cause intense, localized itching on the lower leg or foot, which may last for more than a week. Ankylostomiasis may also cause vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, ingestion, nausea and epigastric pains in early and later stages of the disease.

Ankylostomiasis Treatment

When hookworms are still in the infected skin, Ankylostomiasis could be treated with local cryotherapy. Albendazole can be effectively used when the hookworms are still migrating under the skin or even in the intestinal stages. For patients with Ankylostomiasis-related anemia, iron supplements could relieve iron deficiency symptoms.

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