Hookworm

Trevor A. Crowell, M.D.
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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Members of the family Ancylostomatoidea (nematodes):
    • 18 total genera
    • Two species account for most human infections:
      • Ancylostoma duodenale (AD)
      • Necatur americanus (NA)
  • Epidemiology: About 500 million people infected worldwide
    • Hookworm prevalence is highest in adults, although children are also commonly infected.
    • Infections are common in the tropics and subtropics; rare in regions with < 40 inches of annual rainfall.
      • AD found in Mediterranean countries, Iran, India, Pakistan, and the Far East.
      • NA found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the South Pacific.
    • Anemia is the major source of morbidity related to infection, driving global productivity losses that may exceed $100 billion per year.
  • Adult hookworms are 5-11mm (males) or 9-13mm (females). Identification based on size, number and arrangement of teeth, length of the esophagus, size of eggs, the morphology of bursa (males), or position of ova (females). Eggs are morphologically indistinguishable.
    • AD [Fig 1]: head in the same direction as the body, 2 pairs of ventral teeth, larger than NA, caudal spine present.
    • NA [Fig 2]: head curved opposite body, dorsal and ventral semi-lunar cutting plates, caudal spine in female absent. Found in the New World, including the U.S.
  • Life cycle: [Fig 3]
    • Eggs [Fig 4] are passed in the stool and hatch into rhabditiform larvae after 1-2 days.
    • Rhabditiform larvae grow in the soil, molt and become infective filariform larvae after 5-10 days.
    • Filariform larvae penetrate human skin, mostly feet, (AD can also enter via ingestion of contaminated food) and travel through venous circulation to lungs, through alveoli, to the pharynx and are swallowed into the GI tract where they mature and attach to the walls of the small intestine.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Members of the family Ancylostomatoidea (nematodes):
    • 18 total genera
    • Two species account for most human infections:
      • Ancylostoma duodenale (AD)
      • Necatur americanus (NA)
  • Epidemiology: About 500 million people infected worldwide
    • Hookworm prevalence is highest in adults, although children are also commonly infected.
    • Infections are common in the tropics and subtropics; rare in regions with < 40 inches of annual rainfall.
      • AD found in Mediterranean countries, Iran, India, Pakistan, and the Far East.
      • NA found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the South Pacific.
    • Anemia is the major source of morbidity related to infection, driving global productivity losses that may exceed $100 billion per year.
  • Adult hookworms are 5-11mm (males) or 9-13mm (females). Identification based on size, number and arrangement of teeth, length of the esophagus, size of eggs, the morphology of bursa (males), or position of ova (females). Eggs are morphologically indistinguishable.
    • AD [Fig 1]: head in the same direction as the body, 2 pairs of ventral teeth, larger than NA, caudal spine present.
    • NA [Fig 2]: head curved opposite body, dorsal and ventral semi-lunar cutting plates, caudal spine in female absent. Found in the New World, including the U.S.
  • Life cycle: [Fig 3]
    • Eggs [Fig 4] are passed in the stool and hatch into rhabditiform larvae after 1-2 days.
    • Rhabditiform larvae grow in the soil, molt and become infective filariform larvae after 5-10 days.
    • Filariform larvae penetrate human skin, mostly feet, (AD can also enter via ingestion of contaminated food) and travel through venous circulation to lungs, through alveoli, to the pharynx and are swallowed into the GI tract where they mature and attach to the walls of the small intestine.

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Last updated: January 12, 2020