7 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Helminthiasis
Helminthiasis, which is an infection with round and flat parasitic worms is one of the most vile diseases that a person can encounter. Awareness of the presence of foreign organisms inside their body plunges terrifies everyone, which in turn generates a lot of questions, the answers to the most frequently asked of which can luckily be found in this article
1. Is helminthiasis fatal?
Potentially yes, but with the modern development of parasitology, it is possible to die from helminth infection only in one case — if not treated at all.
2. Is helminthiasis treatment very expensive?
Actually, it’s quite cheap. For example, if you buy not the original Ivermectin, but its generic Stromectol, then the most complete course of treatment (5 tablets for people with a body weight above 190 pounds) will cost only $ 20.
Of course, this does not apply to those rare cases when the parasite needs to be surgically removed due to the neglect of the disease.
3. Is it true that helminths can cause cancer?
Over decades of research, scientific medicine has not found a direct link between chronic helminthiasis and the risk of developing malignant neoplasms. A huge number of patients live with helminths for years until they accidentally discover these “uninvited guests” during a medical examination, but they do not become oncologists’ patients.
Meanwhile, helminthiasis often leads to suppression of the immune system, which can be considered as a factor potentially predisposing to cancer.
4. Which worm is the most dangerous?
All helminths harm the body in one way or another, but if you still set out to single out the most dangerous among them, then they will undoubtedly become Dracunculus medinensis — a kind of roundworm that affects the gastrointestinal tract and lymphatic vessels.
The danger of Dracunculus lies in the fact that it can only be removed from the body surgically, while the removal procedure lasts several weeks because the worm must be extracted whole — the fluid of its body is extremely toxic.
5. Is it possible to just wash the worms with an enema?
No, you can’t. Firstly, not all helminths live in the intestines. For example, the parasite Schistosoma mansoni lives in venous vessels, and Liver fluke worms often settle in the hepatic parenchyma and gallbladder.
And secondly, those of the parasites that really live in the intestine, hold on to its walls very tightly, and therefore attempts to wash them with an ordinary water enema are doomed to failure in advance.
6. Can helminths lead to disability?
It depends on the characteristics of the parasite. For example, worms of the Toxocar species in humans often affect the eye area, causing retinal detachment and blindness.
Fortunately, such cases, like the Toxocar infection itself, occur extremely rarely.
7. Is it true that helminths protect against COVID-19?
This particular topic continues to be controversial.
Statistics do show that residents of African regions where helminthiasis is widespread are less likely to get coronavirus infection. However, it is still too early to say that it is the worms that restrain the activity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.