Helminths are the oldest and most numerous inhabitants of our planet. It is known that they can live almost anywhere, and the human body is for many of them the ideal environment of existence. There, the parasite is not only protected to the maximum from external influences, but can also receive the nutrients necessary for its growth and development. Not all helminthiasis have pronounced symptoms (such as the same enterobiasis): often the person does not even suspect that unwanted people live in his body. How can a parasitic invasion be detected?
Why are helminths dangerous to the human body?
Despite the fact that helminths can live asymptomatic in the human body for a long time, this does not in any way mean that their vital activity is safe. All parasites in the process of growth, development and death secrete certain substances that contribute to the 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 located in the patient's gastrointestinal tract and disrupt normal digestion and nutrient absorption processes. The patient observes the appearance of weakness, fatigue, dizziness and vertigo, which can be associated with the development of anemia. Brittle nails, hair, dry skin and mucous membranes can be the result of iron deficiency, hypovitaminosis and a lack of mineral components. In the context of chronic diarrhea, some patients develop dehydration and even increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
Many helminths have a mechanical effect on the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. The suction cups and hooks damage the tissues, which contributes to the formation of ulcerative and erosive changes. Cases of development of inflammation of the appendicular process are also known in the context of helminthiasis.
Who should take the test?
In fact, everyone is at risk. Almost everyone eats meat or fish, vegetables, fruits and berries, as well as drinking unboiled water and swimming in reservoirs. Children are especially vulnerable in this regard: they have helminth eggs most of the time. Children tend to put dirty toys and any other objects in their mouths, pet domestic and street dogs and cats, and violate personal hygiene rules. There are several types of analysis:
Its objective is the timely detection of parasitic worms, even in the absence of signs. It is recommended to take this exam at least once a year.
They are intended to prevent the spread of helminthiasis among people. When a child enters a pre-school institution or goes to the pool, it is imperative to provide a certificate. Health and nutrition professionals must also undergo a similar test.
According to the indications
If you suspect the development of helminthiasis (epidemiological history and specific complaints), the specialist prescribes a series of studies. This allows you to diagnose the disease in time and start treatment.
Helminth egg analysis
A very popular method for detecting helminth eggs is the study of feces. In this case, no further preparation is necessary: just collect the biological material in a special bottle and take it to the laboratory. However, experts recommend not taking any antiparasitic medication before taking the test: this can affect your accuracy. It is also important to note that the analysis must be submitted at least 3 times to exclude false positive and false negative results. Today, the study of feces for helminth eggs is gradually giving way to newer methods - the determination of antibodies against a certain parasite in the blood.
How to detect enterobiasis?
Enterobiasis is one of the most common helminthiasis and is the cause of worms. The disease is often found in school children and in kindergarten, but adults are also at risk of infection. The main symptom of the disease is severe itching in the perianal region. The diagnosis of enterobiasis is made by obtaining a smear or scraping in the area close to the anus. This is due to the fact that the female of the pathogen leaves the intestine to lay eggs on the surface of the skin folds. The procedure is performed before going to the bathroom and washing in the morning, which allows to obtain an accurate result.
Diagnosis of ascariasis
Roundworms are helminths, whose body length can reach 40 centimeters. They can travel throughout the body, affecting not only the gastrointestinal tract, but also the lungs. Sputum specimens and feces can be used as research material: the genetic material of the parasite is found in them. In addition, ascaris eggs are often found in the patient's feces. However, the most effective diagnostic method is the detection of specific antibodies to the parasitic worm antigens in the patient's blood.
How to identify opistorchiasis?
The feline worm causes opistorchiasis, which is characterized by predominant liver damage. That is why opisthorchus eggs can be found not only in feces, but also in duodenal juice. In recent years, the enzyme immunoassay has been widely used to detect antibodies against opisthorchy. In addition, helminths can 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 predominantly affects the muscles, but can migrate to the central nervous system, causing irreversible changes. If there was a suspicion of developing this helminthiasis, a muscle biopsy was performed previously, but in recent years it has been superseded by serological methods. The detection of antibodies to Trichinella in the patient's blood is the reason for the diagnosis.