Why are helminths dangerous to the human body?

The 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 the optimal environment for many to exist. There, the parasite is not only maximally protected from external influences, but can also absorb the nutrients needed for its growth and development. Not all helminthiasis have pronounced symptoms (like the same enterobiasis): often one does not even suspect that uninvited guests are living in their body. How to detect a parasitic invasion?

Why are helminths dangerous to the human body?

examination of helminth for parasite analysis

Although helminths can live asymptomatically in the human body for a long time, this does not mean at all that their vital activity is safe. All parasites of growth, development, and death secrete certain substances that contribute to the sensitization of the body and the development of allergic reactions. Rash, itchy skin, and even anaphylactic shock can be the result of parasitic worms.

In addition, many helminths are localized in the gastrointestinal tract of the patient and disrupt the processes of normal digestion and absorption of nutrients. The patient notes the onset of weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness that may be associated with the development of anemia. Fragile nails, hair, dry skin and mucous membranes can be deficient in iron, hypovitaminosis and lack of mineral ingredients. In the background of chronic diarrhea, some patients develop dehydration and even increase the risk of hemorrhoids.

Many helminths mechanically affect the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. Suction cups and hooks damage tissues, which contributes to ulcerative and erosive changes. Cases of inflammation of the appendicular process in the background of helminthiasis are also known.

Who needs to be tested?

In fact, everyone is in danger. Almost all people eat meat or fish, vegetables, fruits and berries, and drink uncooked water and swim in reservoirs. Children are particularly vulnerable in this respect: they most often have beaded eggs. Toddlers usually put dirty toys and other objects in their mouths, stray with stray and domestic cats and dogs, and break the rules of personal hygiene. There are several types of analysis:

  • Preventive analyzes

    Their goal is to detect parasitic worms in a timely manner, even in the absence of signs. It is recommended that you perform this test at least once a year.

  • Barrier analyzes

    Their goal is to prevent the spread of helminthiasis in humans. When a child enters a nursery school or goes to a pool, he or she must provide a certificate. Medical and nutrition workers should also undergo a similar test.

  • According to indications

    If you suspect the development of helminthiasis (epidemiological history and specific complaints), the specialist will prescribe certain tests. This allows the disease to be diagnosed in time and treatment to be started.

Analysis of helminth eggs

A fairly popular method for detecting helminth eggs is stool testing. In this case, no further preparation is required: all you have to do is collect the biological material in a special container and take it to the laboratory. However, experts recommend that you do not take antiparasitic drugs before performing the test: this may affect its accuracy. It is also worth noting that the analysis must be submitted at least three times to exclude false positive and false negative results. Today, the examination of the feces of helminth eggs is gradually giving way to newer methods - the determination of antibodies against certain parasites in the blood.

How to detect enterobiasis?

Enterobiasis is one of the most common helminthiasis and is caused by pinworms. The disease often occurs in school children and preschoolers, but adults are also at risk for infection. The main symptom of the disease is severe itching in the perianal region. Diagnosis of enterobiasis is made by obtaining a smear or scraping from the area near the anus. This is due to the fact that the female of the pathogen leaves the intestines to lay eggs on the surface of the skin folds. The procedure is performed before entering the toilet and washing in the morning, allowing the exact result to be achieved.

Diagnosis of ascariasis

diagnosis of human sputum and feces to detect the genetic material of the parasite

Roundworms are helminths with body lengths of up to 40 centimeters. They can travel through the body, not only to the gastrointestinal tract, but also to the lungs. Sputum and fecal samples can be used as research material: they contain the genetic material of the parasite. Ascaris eggs are often found in a patient’s feces. However, the most effective diagnostic method is to detect specific antibodies to the parasite worm antigens in the patient's blood.

How to identify opisthorchiasis?

Cat's skin causes opisthorchiasis, which is characterized by characteristic liver damage. Therefore, the eggs of the opisthorchus are found not only in the feces but also in the duodenum. In recent years, enzyme immunoassays have been widely used to detect antibodies to opisthorchia. In addition, helminth samples can be detected by the polymerase chain reaction, which is effective even for small amounts of biological material.

Identification of trichinosis

Trichinella is a helminth that affects predominantly muscles but can cause irreversible changes when migrating to the central nervous system. If the development of this helminthiasis is suspected, a muscle biopsy has been performed in the past, but has been displaced by serological methods in recent years. Detection of antibodies to trichinella in the patient's blood is the cause of the diagnosis.