Soil-transmitted helminthiasis is an infection caused by the group of different types of worms. When worms are transmitted through contaminated soil this infection occurs. Soil-transmitted helminth is the most common infections and mostly affects the people living in unhygienic conditions. Tropical and sub-tropical areas like China, Africa, India and East Asia are more susceptible to helminthiasis infections. Close to 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population is infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections, out of which over 270 million preschool-age children and over 600 million school-age children reside in the areas where these parasites are easily transmitted.
People with light soil-transmitted helminth infections usually have no symptoms. Chronic infections can cause a range of symptoms including diarrhoea and abdominal pain, general malaise and weakness, and impaired cognitive and physical development.
- Soil-transmitted helminthiasis infection leads to a loss of iron and protein as worms entered in the body grows on host tissues and blood.
- Helminthiasis infection may also results in loss of appetite which further leads to cut down in nutritional intake and less physical activities.
The main types of worms that infect human body are the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), the whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale). Worms are transmitted by eggs that are passed in the excrement of infected person. Grown up worms live in the intestine where they produce thousands of eggs each day. Transmission of worms can happen in many ways like from contaminated water sources, vegetables, children who play in soil and don’t clean their hands.
Awareness and education about health and hygiene minimises the risk transmission and re-infection. Supporting healthy behaviours such as washing of hands with soap and water before handling food, wearing protective footwear, thorough washing of raw vegetables and fruits
with safe water before eating, sanitary disposal of human excreta are some of the examples of health and hygiene
About National Deworming Day
National Deworming Day is observed on 10th of February in India every year. The day was introduced in the year 2015, by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. As per, World Health Organisation241 million children in India between the age group of 1-14 years are living at a risk of soil-transmitted helminths (STH). Therefore, the sole aim behind observing National Deworming Day is to eradicate soil-transmitted helminthiasis infection and to render them good health and quality of life to all the children in the country.