Trichuriasis (Whipworm)

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Organism, Causative agent, Etiologic agent
Trichuriasis is caused by infection with the intestinal nematode Trichuris trichiura. T. trichiura belongs to a class of parasites often referred to as “soil-transmitted helminths”.

Transmission is primarily via the fecal-oral route. Eggs are shed in an infected person's feces but require exposure to a warm, moist, soil environment to mature and become infectious. Once the eggs have incubated in soil they can be transmitted via contaminated water, soil, agriculture products, fingers, or other fomites. Human to human transmission of Trichuris species does not occur.

Clinical manifestations of trichuriasis tend to be dependent on the severity of the infection. Minor infections may only result in peripheral blood eosinophilia. Individuals with moderate to severe infections may develop symptoms such as frequent, painful and/or bloody stool, rectal prolapse, or anemia. Children with prolonged or severe anemia may develop significant growth or mental impairment.

The best method for prevention of Trichuriasis is proper disposal of human waste.  Avoiding the use of human waste-based fertilizer (night soil) will also decrease the risk of transmission. Thoroughly washing hands and all produce before cooking and eating is also highly recommended in order to prevent ingestion of parasite eggs.

Texas Trends
Trichuriasis is a newly reportable condition as of 2016. Since then, 10 cases have been reported from 2016 through 2020, with an average annual case count of 2.5 cases (ranging between 0-6 cases per year).
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