Ultrasound Shows Worms Inside Man’s Stomach

KEY POINTS

  • A new report details the case of a young man who discovered he had parasites
  • He was diagnosed after doctors saw the worms on the ultrasound and detected eggs in his stool
  • The parasite infection occurs worldwide but is considered “uncommon” in the U.S.

A man who sought emergency care at a hospital found that he actually had parasites after an ultrasound revealed the worms moving in his stomach.

A report published in The New England Journal of Medicine details the case of a 20-year-old man from New Delhi, India who went to the emergency room complaining of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The man had no known medical conditions and was considered to be previously healthy, Live Science reported.

Eventually, the doctors found the source of his condition when they did an ultrasound to check the fluid levels in the large vein in his abdomen. They saw a “moving tubular echogenic structure in the stomach.” Simply put, they saw worms moving around in his stomach.

The doctors asked the man for a stool sample and tested it. The sample later revealed Ascaris lumbricoides eggs, leading to the doctors’ diagnosis of ascariasis or the infection of the human intestinal parasite Ascaris.

As Live Science explained, the man then received an anti-parasitic drug called albendazole and he was released just a day after. He eventually passed the worms in his stool and noted that he was already feeling fell during the follow-up visit after two weeks.

Common Infection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ascariasis is the most common human worm infection. The larvae and adult Ascaris live in the intestine where it can cause intestinal disease, while the eggs are passed in the stool of infected people.

Once out of the infected person’s body, the eggs can mature into a form that can infect other people. Such infections happen when people ingest the parasite, whether via contaminated hands or contaminated fruits and vegetables that haven’t been washed or cooked properly, the CDC explained.

These infections typically do not present symptoms, but more severe cases can lead to intestinal blockage and even impaired growth in children. In some cases, the CDC explained, people only notice that they are infected when they pass a worm in their stool or cough it out.

“Other symptoms such as cough are due to migration of the worms through the body,” the CDC said, noting that if this happens, the specimen should be brought to a health care provider.

Sanitation And Hygiene

Ascariasis infections occur worldwide, but it is considered to be “uncommon” in the U.S., the CDC said. It is more common in warmer and more humid climates, “where sanitation and hygiene are poor.” 

To prevent Ascariasis infections, the CDC noted the importance of not getting in contact with soil that’s been fertilized using human feces. It’s also important to always wash the hands properly and prepare fruits and vegetables carefully by washing, peeling and cooking them thoroughly, especially if they were grown in soil that was fertilized using human feces.

Ascaris lumbricoides Pictured: An adult, female Ascaris lumbricoides. Photo: CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

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