What is Ancylostomiasis? 

Ancylostomiasis-- also known as hookworm infection, is a rare parasitic disease caused by the Ancylostoma hookworms.  Infection occurs when a worm larvae enters the body, usually through contact of broken skin on the feet with contaminated soil, and traveling through the bloodstream to the lung and intestine, where they begin to multiply.  Hookworms can cause symptoms such as asymptomatic pneumonitis, an inflammation in the lungs, and eosinophilia, an increase of a type of white blood cell in the blood. Symptoms can intensify when the parasite is present in large numbers  including diarrhea, abdominal pain, melena-- bloody feces usually caused by intestinal bleeding, iron deficient anemia, and protein malnutrition.

What is its prevalence? 

The overall prevalence of Ancylostomiasis is unknown. The worms, and thus the infection, can be found in most parts of the world, however the infection rates increase if the population walks barefoot in areas where the soil is infested with hookworms.  There was a regional study in Anhui Province, China, where the males were found to have a higher rate of infection, and middle aged individuals were more likely to be infected than children or the elderly.

How is it diagnosed? Ancylostomiasis is usually diagnosed by microscopic examination of parasites found in the stools and by inspecting the skin, eyes, and viscera for signs of infection.  Hookworm eggs and larvae can be identified microscopically. A stool concentration procedure can be performed to enhance detection.

Is there a specific gene that has been identified? Not applicable

How is it treated?  Ancylostomiasis can be effectively treated by various oral drugs, including Mebendazole, Albendazole and Pyrantel Pamoate.  It may be necessary to treat symptoms of the worm infection such as iron deficiency anemia through dietary means or iron supplements. In severe cases of anemia, a blood transfusion may be required.

Are there any clinical trials underway? None currently known.

How can RareShare be helpful to patients and families?As a free online disease-specific forum, RareShare can be a focal point where patients, families, researchers and healthcare providers can exchange information on Ancylostomiasis.

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