worms

Last reviewed 01/2018

A significant proportion of the world's population is infected with parasitic helminths (worms). These are catogorised into three groups: nematodes (roundworms), cestodes (tapeworms) and trematodes (flukes). It is estimated that over 800 million people have trichiuriasis (whipworm) and over 1 billion people have ascariasis (roundworm).

Endemic helminthic diseases in the UK:

  • threadworm
  • whipworm
  • toxocara canis
  • dwarf tapeworm
  • echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is acquired following the ingestion of eggs shed in the faeces of dogs infected with the dog tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) and is found in certain areas of Wales

A common characteristic of helminthic diseases is the complex lifecycle with adults, embryos and larvae living in different environments. Life cycles vary from three weeks to three months.