This is a minute worm almost invisible to the naked eye. Its name implies that it has a bent mouth which contains 4 teeth. It lives in the small intestine, attached by its mouth to the mucous membrane from which it sucks blood.
Mode of Infection:
The eggs are excreted from the human intestine during defection. When these come in contact with damp soil or water, embryos hatch out and enter the skin of man, usually through the feet, producing “ground itch”. They then pass in the circulation to the heart and lungs. They burrow into the bronchi and are carried with the mucus to trachea and pass down the esophagus into the small intestine.
The local lesions in the feet (ground itch) result in the formation of vesicles and pustules, which heal in a week or so, it is occurred several months before the general symptoms are felt. The patient complains of progressive weakness, shortness of breath and palpitation. There may be flatulence, and constipation or diarrhea. The appetite is good, but pica (dirt eating) is a feature of the disease.
Treatment: The cheapest and probably the most efficient method of treatment is, by a small dose of Oil of Chenopoddium, but it is to be remembered that personal hygiene and the use of properly constructed and well cared for latrine is essential for the eradication of the pest.