Enterobiasis (Pinworm)

Enterobiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the parasite Enterobius Vermicularis and is prevalent worldwide. It is most commonly manifested by itching in the anal area, especially at night.

Where does it occur?

It occurs worldwide, especially in children.

How is it transmitted?

The worm and its eggs are shed in human feces. It is spread by ingesting the eggs of the parasite through soiled hands, bed sheets, clothing or food.

Is it contagious from person to person?

It is contagious from person to person through soiled hands.

What is the risk for travelers?

Risk is low for travelers, but would wash hands thoroughly before eating.

How soon after exposure will I develop symptoms?

Symptoms develop 2-6 weeks after exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common symptom is itching in the anus and surrounding area, especially at night; sometimes resulting in sleeplessness. If there is a large amount of worms it can cause 1) appendicitis with abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting 2) focal inflammation of the vaginal area with redness, swelling and pain.

Is there any treatment?

Albendazole or Mebendazole are effective antibiotics.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose illness?

The worm and its eggs can be demonstrated by applying a transparent tape to the anal area overnight and examining the tape by microscope for worms and eggs. Sometimes the worms can be seen directly on rectal exam.

What preventive measures can be taken?

One can prevent the likelihood of infection by practicing personal hygiene – especially thoroughly washing hands.

advice for your illness and travel
learn about an exotic disease