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Ankylostomiasis Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Written By : Dr. James Pendergraft 
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Ankylostomiasis is the medical name for the Hookworm, a parasitic nematode that creates its home in the small intestine of its host. Generally, mammals experience this with humans, dogs and cats being affected mostly. The parasite is mostly found in North Africa, Middle East and India. It is also found in southern Europe. They are also found in areas where people defecate on the ground, which makes the soil moister and therefore more prone to be a breeding ground for the larvae.

The most common cause of the disease is walking bare feet on contaminated soil. When the larvae of the hookworm penetrate the skin, it may cause an allergic reaction. Once the larvae enters the skin, it goes into the bloodstream and into the lungs. If the larvae cannot complete this process, they settle below the skin and create marks that are quite similar to snake bites. These marks are known as cutaneous larva migrans or creeping eruption.

Ankylostomiasis is caused when the hookworms suck the blood from the host's intestinal walls and cause an iron deficiency anemia. In human beings, the symptoms of Ankylostomosis are abdominal pains, anemia, diarrhea, malnutrition and in some extreme cases, bleeding of the intestinal wall. The other symptoms are signs of anemia, pallor, bradycardia and the person feel tired quite easily. Some may even experience retardation of mental and physical development, while others might have acute gastrointestinal and pulmonary reactions. Some might even have pneumonia.

Ancylostomiasis is treated with mebendazole. This drug is quite inexpensive and most cases would require only a single dose. Apart from this drug, the patient should also be given dietary supplements that will increase the chances of getting better faster and have a positive impact on their health too. The most important in this case is the supplementation of iron in the body. The person may require an iron enhanced diet for either a few weeks or many months, it depends on the amount of larvae that exist in the body. The simplest way to cure this medical issue is by bettering the sanitary conditions in the area, and increase the hygiene on a personal level. While hookworm is curable, it still is the cause of around fifty to sixty thousand deaths each year in countries where medical facilities are not available easily.

Apart from Ankylostomiasis, Hookworm also causes creeping eruptions, which are very painful and irritable for the patient. The creeping eruptions are very itchy on the surface. These creeping eruptions can also be caused due to the infection from other hookworms, like dogs and cats. This happens because thought he larva from the foreign bodies have migrated into the body, they cannot complete the migration process, and hence end up as creeping eruptions on the skin. This can be controlled with the ointment called thiabendazole.

The other medicines that are useful for Ankylostomiasis are mebendazole, albendazole, pyrantel, tetracholoroethylene, and bephenium hydroxynaphthoate.

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