The hookworm species, primarily Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus, cause a parasitic infection known as → hookworm infestation. These worms live in the small intestine of humans, where they attach themselves to the intestinal wall and feed on the host’s blood. Many parts of the world, especially regions with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water, commonly experience a health problem known as → hookworm infestation. In this article, we will discuss hookworm infestation: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention. Also, we will discuss some preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of infection.

Hookworm larva

The Hookworm Infestation

Hookworm infestation is a parasitic infection caused by the hookworm parasite, specifically, the species known as → Encylostoma duodenale. This parasite primarily affects individuals living in warm and humid regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America.

Importance of Understanding Hookworm Infestation


Hookworm infestation is a significant public health concern, as it can have serious consequences for affected individuals and communities. Hookworms primarily infect the small intestine, where they feed on blood and can cause anaemia, malnutrition, and other health complications. Infected individuals may experience symptoms such as → abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and fatigue. In severe cases, hookworm infestation can lead to developmental delays in children and impaired cognitive function in adults.

In the next following section, we will discuss the life cycle of Hookworm.

Life Cycle of Hookworm

The hookworm species, particularly Encylostoma duodenale, causes a parasitic infection known as → hookworm infestation. Understanding the life cycle of hookworms is crucial in preventing and treating the disease.


Let’s discuss each step:

  1. Transmission Through Contact with Infected Soil: Hookworm primarily transmits through contact with soil contaminated with fecal matter containing hookworm eggs. This can occur in areas with poor sanitation, particularly in warm and humid climates.
  2. Penetration of Skin by Infective Larvae: Once the hookworm eggs hatch in the soil, they release infective larvae which can penetrate the skin of humans. This can happen when walking barefoot or through skin-to-soil contact.
  3. Migration to the Small Intestine and Attachment to the Intestinal Wall: After penetrating the skin, the infective larvae enter the bloodstream and migrate to the lungs. They then travel up the trachea, get swallowed, and ultimately reach the small intestine. In the small intestine, the hookworms attach to the intestinal wall and feed on the host’s blood.
  4. Production of Eggs That are Passed Out in Faeces: The infected person passes out the eggs produced by the adult hookworms in their intestine through their feces. These eggs can then contaminate the soil and complete the cycle by infecting new hosts.

In the following sections, we will discuss the symptoms of the disease in more detail.

Symptoms of Hookworm Infestation

This is a common parasitic infection that affects millions of people worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. The hookworm species Encylostoma duodenale causes it by entering the body through the skin and making its way to the small intestine, where it feeds on blood and tissue fluids.

Symptoms of this disease:

  1. Abdominal Pain and Discomfort: Hookworm infestation can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort, as the parasites attach themselves to the intestinal walls and feed on blood. This can lead to inflammation, cramping, and irritation of the digestive tract.
  2. Diarrhoea and/or Constipation: The presence of hookworms in the digestive system can disrupt the normal functioning of the intestines, leading to diarrhoea, constipation, or alternating bouts of both. This can cause dehydration, malnutrition, and electrolyte imbalances.
  3. Anaemia and Weakness: Hookworms feed on blood, which can lead to a gradual loss of iron and other essential nutrients from the body, causing anaemia and weakness. Anaemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches, and can be especially dangerous for pregnant women and children.
  4. Itching and Rash at the Site of Larval Penetration: Hookworm larvae penetrate the skin, typically through the feet, causing itching, redness, and a rash. Ground itch, which can be a common initial symptom.

In the next following section, we will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hookworm Infestation

Hookworm infestation, caused by the parasitic worm Encylostoma duodenale, is a common health problem in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries with poor sanitation and hygiene. In this section, we will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Here is an explanation of some common diagnoses and treatments of this disease.

Diagnosis through Stool Examination

Diagnosing hookworm infestation usually involves a stool examination. A healthcare provider will take a small sample of stool and examine it under a microscope for the presence of hookworm eggs or larvae. This test is simple, non-invasive, and can accurately diagnose hookworm infestation.

Treatment with Anthelmintic Medications

The most effective treatment for hookworm infestation is anthelmintic medications, which are drugs that kill adult worms in the intestine.  Patients typically take these medications orally and may need to take several doses to fully eliminate the worms. Commonly used anthelmintic medications include albendazole and mebendazole.

Iron Supplements for Anaemia


Hookworms can cause anaemia by feeding on the host’s blood, leading to a deficiency in iron. To treat anaemia associated with hookworm infestation, iron supplements may be prescribed. These supplements help restore the body’s iron levels, improving symptoms such as → fatigue and weakness.

In the following section, we will discuss the prevention and control of the disease.

Prevention and Control of Hookworm Infestation

The nematode worm, Encylostoma duodenale, causes hookworm infestation. One of the most common parasitic infections globally is hookworm, which infects over one billion people worldwide, according to estimates. While the symptoms of hookworm infestation may vary from mild to severe, the infection can lead to long-term health consequences if left untreated. Here are some important prevention and control measures to keep in mind:

Proper Sanitation and Hygiene Practices

Proper Sanitation and Hygiene Practices

Infected individuals excrete hookworm eggs in their feces, which then contaminate soil in areas with poor sanitation. Practicing good hygiene such as → washing hands frequently and properly disposing of feces can help reduce the spread of hookworms. Additionally, it is important to avoid walking barefoot in areas where this disease is common. The larvae can penetrate the skin and cause infection.

Wearing Shoes to Prevent Larval Penetration

Wearing shoes in areas where hookworm infestation is common can help prevent larval penetration through the skin. This is particularly important for individuals who work or spend a lot of time in areas where the infection is prevalent, such as → farmers, miners, and construction workers.

Mass Deworming Programs in Areas With High Prevalence

Mass deworming programs involve treating entire populations in areas with a high prevalence of hookworm infestation. This is a cost-effective approach to reducing the prevalence of the infection and can help prevent the long-term health consequences associated with hookworm infestation. These programs often involve distributing medication to schools, community centers, and other public places.

In the following section, we will discuss the global burden of Hookworms.

Global Burden of Hookworm Infestation

Hookworm infestation, caused by the intestinal parasites Encylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus, is a major public health problem in developing countries. Here are three key points about the global burden of the disease:

  1. Prevalence in Developing Countries: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that hookworms infect approximately 576-740 million people worldwide, with the highest prevalence found in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
  2. Impact on Public Health and Economic Development: The parasites attach to the intestinal wall, causing inflammation and blood loss, which can lead to chronic anaemia and malnutrition. This can have long-term effects on physical and cognitive development, particularly in children.
  3. Efforts to Reduce the Global Burden of Hookworm Infestation: Efforts to reduce the global burden of hookworm infestation have focused on improving sanitation and access to clean water, as well as mass drug administration (MDA) programs. MDA involves administering a single dose of medication, such as → albendazole or mebendazole, to entire at-risk populations, regardless of whether they are infected.

Final Words on Hookworm Infestation

Hookworm infestation because of Encylostoma duodenale is a serious public health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. The key point to keep in mind is that hookworms enter the body through the skin. Hookworms travel through the bloodstream to the lungs and are eventually swallowed, where they attach to the intestinal wall and feed on blood. Symptoms can include anemia, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

Prevention is the best way to avoid hookworm infestation. This includes avoiding walking barefoot in areas where hookworm is prevalent, practicing good hygiene, and ensuring that drinking water and food are clean and safe.

Further Reading

We express our heartfelt gratitude to our readers for their unwavering support in engaging with the IntakeLearn article on the Management of Diseases. We will continuously provide significant information you can check articles like and .

For more information on this topic, you can check other sources:

  1. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookworm_infestation
  2. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookworm
  3. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diarrhea
  4. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constipation


  1. Marina I. Papaiakovou, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  2. DPDx – Laboratory Identification of Parasites of Public Health Concern Courtesy: Public Health Image Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. Fernandolive, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Leave a Reply