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Necator americanus is the most common type of hookworm that causes infection in the United States.

The parasitic roundworm, known as hookworm, causes hookworm disease.

- Hookworm eggs are passed in human feces onto the ground where they develop into infective larvae (immature worms).

- When the soil is cool, the larvae crawl to the nearest moist area and extend their bodies into the air.

- The larvae stay in the soil—waving their bodies to and fro—until they come into contact with human skin, usually when stepped on by a bare foot, or until they are driven back into the ground by the heat.


You can get hookworms by walking barefoot over contaminated soil. In penetrating your skin, the hookworm larvae (immature worms) may cause an allergic reaction. It is from the itchy patch at the place where the larvae entered your body that the early infection came to be known as "ground itch."

Once larvae have broken through your skin, they enter your bloodstream and are carried to your lungs. Unlike ascarids, another form of parasitic roundworm, hookworms do not usually cause pneumonia.

The larvae migrate from your lungs to your windpipe and are then swallowed and carried back down to your small intestine.

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