Ascaris lumbricoides

Ascaris lumbricoides is the largest nematode (roundworm) that infects the human gastrointestinal tract. The adults are visible to the naked eye and can reach over 12 inches in length.

The disease caused by this parasite as it proceeds through its life cycle in humans is called Ascariasis. It resides in the gastrointestinal tract or in other areas of the body such as the lungs.

Risk factors for ascariasis infection include living in and/or visiting tropical and subtropical areas along with poor hygiene and consuming contaminated food or water.

Most of the complications of ascariasis occur in the gastrointestinal tract with obstruction of the G.I. tract as a major complication. Other organs may also be involved causing:

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity lining)
  • Intussusception (an intestinal condition in which part of the intestine is pulled into itself, creating an obstruction)
  • Volvulus (abnormal twisting of the intestine)
  • Peritoneal granulomas (scar tissue lining the abdomen)
  • liver abscess
  • Pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs)