noun, plural: helminthiases
(A disease caused by) the infestation with parasitic worms
Helminthiasis refers to the infestation with parasitic worms (also called helminths). Thus, it may also be simply called worm infestation (or infection). There are different types of parasitic worms. They include tapeworms, flukes, and roundworms.
The common site of infestation is the gastrointestinal tract. For instance, larvae of parasitic roundworms (nematodes) make their way into the small intestine where nutrients abound and are utilized to become adult worms. Some of the common roundworms of humans that occur in the gastrointestinal tract are Ascaris lumbricoides, Necator americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale, Enterobius vermicularis, etc.. Apart from nematodes, tapeworms (cestodes) also inhabit the intestinal tract of their host. Some of the well-known parasitic tapeworms are Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm). Flukes, in contrast, inhabit other organs, e.g. Paragonimus westermani infests the lungs whereas Clonorchis sinensis infests the liver.
The common effects of helminthiasis depend on the worm volume, the helminth involved, and the site of infection. For instance, roundworm and tapeworm infestation could lead to weight loss, anemia, diarrhea, and inflammation from immune response.
Word origin: helminth (“parasitic flatworm or roundworm”) + –iasis
- worm infestation
- worm infection