Contagious: Ascariasis

About contagion: Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily the spread of Ascariasis is possible from one person to another. Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness", "transmission" or "transmissability". Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics or inheriting diseases from parents. For an overview of contagion, see Introduction to Contagion.

Contagion summary: Spread by human feces in areas of poor sanitation.


Contagiousness properties of Ascariasis:
  Contagious overall?: Yes
  Contagious from water?: Yes
  Contagious from food?: Yes
  Contagious from feces?: Yes

Contagion summary: You or your children can become infected after touching your mouth with your hands contaminated with eggs from soil or other contaminated surfaces. 1

Contagion discussion: Ascarid eggs are found in the soil. Infection occurs when a person accidently ingests (swallows) infective ascarid eggs. Once in the stomach, larvae (immature worms) hatch from the eggs. The larvae are carried through the lungs then to the throat where they are then swallowed. Once swallowed, they reach the intestines and develop into adult worms. Adult female worms lay eggs that are then passed in feces; this cycle will take between 2-3 months.

Pigs can be infected with ascarids. Occasionally, a pig ascarid infection can be spread to humans; this occurs when infective eggs, found in the soil and manure, are ingested. Infection is more likely if pig feces is used as fertilizer in the garden; crops then become contaminated with ascarid eggs.1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Ascaris Infection: DPD

Last revision: June 13, 2003


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