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Pinworm - Definition


The pinworm is a parasite that grows in the digestive tract, resembling a worm like a white thread. Pinworms are very common in temperate climates, and essentially affect children, the elderly, and people suffering from psychiatric disorders. Pinworms contaminate the digestive tract through food and particularly dirty nails containing pinworm eggs. Once these are ingested, the adult worm colonizes the digestive system and the females lay eggs near the anus. They are responsible for itchiness in the anal region, primarily at night or in the evening. In children, sleep is often disturbed and nightmares are common side-effects. Diagnosis of a pinworm contamination is based on the identification of eggs in the feces and samples of the worm taken from the anus using adhesive bands, called the Scotch Test. Treatment must be repeated at two-week intervals, and the patient's nails must be cut short.