Disease. Trichuriasis, which is an infection of the large intestine caused by Trichuris trichiura (whipworm), is a very common intestinal helminthic infection worldwide. An estimated 604-795 million people in the world are infected with whipworm. Whipworms live in the large intestine and whipworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected persons. If the infected person defecates outside (near bushes, in a garden, or field) or if human feces as used as fertilizer, eggs are deposited on soil. They can then mature into a form that is infective.
Infection. Whipworm infection is caused by ingesting eggs. People infected with whipworm can suffer light or heavy infections. People with light infections usually have no symptoms. People with heavy symptoms can experience the frequent, painful passage of stool that contains a mixture of mucus, water, and blood. Rectal prolapse can also occur. Children with heavy infections can become severely anemic and growth-retarded.
Epidemiology and Risk Factors. Whipworm is a soil-transmitted helminth (STH) and is the third most common roundworm of humans. The infection can occur in areas where human feces are used as fertilizer or where defecation onto soil happens. The worms are spread from person to person by fecal-oral transmission or through feces-contaminated food. Distribution of this worms can occurs more frequently in areas with tropical weather and poor sanitation practices, and among children. Trichuriasis also occurs in the southern United States. Transmission of infection to others can be prevented by not defecating outdoors and effective sewage disposal systems.
Treatment. Anthelminthic medications (drugs that rid the body of parasitic worms), such as albendazole and mebendazole, are the drugs of choice for treatment. Infections are generally treated for 3 days. The recommended medications are effective. Iron supplements may also be prescribed if the infected person suffers from anemia.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parasites – Trichuriasis (also known as whipworm infection). [Updated: January 10, 2013]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/whipworm/index.html
Donkor K. and Taylor III. J.P. Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) infection (Trichuriasis). [Updated: Sept 20, 2018]. Available from: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/788570-overview