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Pinworm infestation (or infection)


Enterobiasis is a type of helminthiasis, which refers to the helminthic infestation (or infection). Pinworms are the causative agent of enterobiasis. They belong to a group of roundworms (i.e. nematodes). They can be distinguished from other nematodes by their relatively small size. The adult female pinworms are typically 8 to 13 mm long whereas the adult male pinworms are 2 to 5 mm in length. Common symptoms of enterobiasis are intense pruritus ani and perineal pruritus that result when the female migrates to the anal area to lay eggs especially at night. Other symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, insomnia and restlessness.

Enterobiasis is one of the most common worm infestations in humans. In the United States, an overall incidence rate of 11.4% was reported through a study conducted by the Center of Disease Control.1 Children were found to be highly susceptible. The prevalence rates in this age group were 61% in India, 50% in England, 39% in Thailand, etc.1 One possible factor that may explain the high incidence and prevalence rates is auto-infection. The host may self-infect via anal-oral route, such as by sucking contaminated finger.

Also called:

  • pinworm infection
  • pinworm infestation

See also:

1 Burkhart, C. N. and Burkhart, C. G. (October 2005). "Assessment of frequency, transmission, and genitourinary complications of enterobiasis (pinworms)". International Journal of Dermatology 44(10): 837–40.