Posts tagged hookworm

"A sure remedy for worms!"
Gross Things About Hookworms:
When Ancylostoma duodenal larvae are “filariform” (in the non-feeding infectious stage), they travel through the lungs. Aaannd…well, you DO cough them up when they’re in there. Sometimes you cough them out of your system, sometimes you cough them into your mouth and swallow them. 
When you swallow the worms you cough up, they get back into the intestines, where they want to be. When you cough them onto the ground, they can immediately infect others. See, when one defecates the worms, the eggs get ejected from the body. Those then have to hatch, so that the A. duodenal can reach its filariform stage (which takes several days), and burrow into the skin of another host (or perhaps the same host!). When they’re coughed up at the stage that they need to be at to infect others, they can just dig right in to their new home…

"A sure remedy for worms!"

Gross Things About Hookworms:

When Ancylostoma duodenal larvae are “filariform” (in the non-feeding infectious stage), they travel through the lungs. Aaannd…well, you DO cough them up when they’re in there. Sometimes you cough them out of your system, sometimes you cough them into your mouth and swallow them.

When you swallow the worms you cough up, they get back into the intestines, where they want to be. When you cough them onto the ground, they can immediately infect others. See, when one defecates the worms, the eggs get ejected from the body. Those then have to hatch, so that the A. duodenal can reach its filariform stage (which takes several days), and burrow into the skin of another host (or perhaps the same host!). When they’re coughed up at the stage that they need to be at to infect others, they can just dig right in to their new home…

Nurse Instructing Mothers on the Importance of Shoes -1937
Massive public health initiatives undertaken between 1920 and 1939 (and to a lesser degree all the way through the 1960s) were a vital part of the eradication of endemic hookworm and other soil-borne illnesses.

Nurse Instructing Mothers on the Importance of Shoes -1937

Massive public health initiatives undertaken between 1920 and 1939 (and to a lesser degree all the way through the 1960s) were a vital part of the eradication of endemic hookworm and other soil-borne illnesses.

1. Mouthparts of the “Old World Hookworm” (Ancylostoma duodenale) and “New World Hookworm” (Necator americanus). 

2. How those mouthparts attach to the intestinal mucosa.

3. The basic life-cycle of the hookworm - note that it likes sandy, loose soil, the same kind that is good for farming in the south - the farmers with the good land were always noted to be “lazy”, “slow”, or “sleepy”. This was due to heavy hookworm infection.

Chronic, heavy-intensity hookworm infections, due to walking barefoot near faecal matter, were once common in the south. In areas where the hookworms thrived, these infections, though not obvious, caused chronic anemia and nutrient loss. This, in turn, led to “laziness” (basic exhaustion due to iron deficiency and other deficiencies), diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, and kids missing school/having trouble learning in the first place.

Standard Oil saw a lot of opportunity in the relatively undeveloped south, but first, they needed to figure out why its citizens with the best land and (who were most likely to use new oil-run farm equipment) were so unproductive. Once the south underwent a massive sanitation initiative started by John D. Rockefeller in 1909, hookworm infection and its health implications began to quickly disappear. Latrines were built, shoe importance (especially when using the latrine) was emphasized, and the population was educated as to what they had to do to avoid infection and what they had to do to rid themselves of their current infections.

The campaign was a major success, and along with the foundation of better universities and emphasis on higher standards of living, the elimination of hookworm infestation was one of the most important steps in “Seeing the South Rise Again”.

Animal Parasites and Human Disease. Asa C. Chandler, 1918.

Radiolab: Parasites

Ok, I’m admittedly biased, as Radiolab is one of my favorite radio shows (…yes, people still have favorite radio shows, even in 2011), but their episode on parasites is particularly good, even (or maybe especially) if you aren’t someone who likes parasites.

Could parasites be the shadowy hands that pull the strings of life? We explore nature’s moochers, with tales of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe). And we examine claims that some parasites may actually be good for you.

**If you listen to the show, be sure to also listen to the "Update on Hookworms" - or at least read about it.