Whipworm is ingested with contaminated food or water and develops in the bowel lumen. The worm lives in the human caecum; there is no extraintestinal migration. It is not infective immediately it reaches the soil - i.e. the infection cannot be transmitted from one person to another. Instead there is a period during which the larva develops, after which it is infective for some time.
There are an estimated 500 million cases worldwide.
Last reviewed 01/2018