T. trichiura is a nematode that infects the large intestine. Infection is spread via the fecal-oral route. The parasite is found principally in the tropics and subtropics. Mild asymptomatic infections are common in rural parts of the southeastern USA. Light infections are often asymptomatic. Heavy infections cause abdominal pain, anorexia, and diarrhea and may retard growth. Very heavy infections may cause weight loss, anemia, and rectal prolapse in children and parturient women.
No drug treatment is required for asymptomatic or light infections. Mebendazole (100 mg bid x 3 days, adult dose) or albendazole (400 mg qd x 3 days, adult dose) are used for more severe infections. These drugs should not be used during pregnancy. Natural agents include quassia and black walnut.
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