Largely common in tropical climes, hook worm infection is caused by parasites called Ancylostoma Duodenale and Necator Americanus.
Hookworms live in the small intestine of an infected person and are excreted in the faeces. The worms can find their way into your body by penetrating the skin, usually through the feet if you are walking bare feet on infected soil or if you have consumed contaminated fruits and vegetables. You are also at a risk of infection if are malnutritioned.
Hookworm eggs grow well between a temperature of 24 and 32 degrees Celsius in damp climes, especially during the rainy season. Be careful when you visit your farmyard during the monsoons.
Effects of the disease
Hook worm infection causes iron deficiency due to chronic blood loss which leads to a depletion of the body’s iron stores. In pregnant women, this may cause a miscarriage or lead to low birth weight babies and still births. In children, it retards growth and in adults, hookworms could reduce the capacity of work.
Prevention and control
It can be prevented by ensuring a proper sewage disposal system in urban areas and use of low cost sanitary toilets in rural areas. Farmers should avoid using raw faeces and untreated sewage as fertilizer.