Trichuriasis (also called whipworm) is an infection in the intestines caused by a large roundworm (Trichuris trichiura).

Eggs of the worm are found in the feces of an infected person or animal. A person who eats with dirty hands or who eats dirty food can accidentally ingest the eggs. As they move through the intestines, the eggs hatch into larvae, and then live in the large intestine for up to 1 year.

Usually there are no symptoms of infection. However, if many worms are present, a person may feel stomach pain and nausea, and develop diarrhea.

Infection is most common in children, who tend to have the most serious symptoms. Severe infections can be treated with medication. People who do not have symptoms usually do not need to be treated.

Last Updated: September 11, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine

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