A 20-year-old man admitted to hospital after complaining of abdominal pain has learned that he had been harbouring parasitic worms after an ultrasound revealed the macabre find.
Medical experts writing in the New England Journal of Medicine said the man from New Delhi, India, had been admitted to hospital complaining of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.
According to the journal, that’s where doctors conducting an ultrasound of the man’s abdomen noticed a “tubular … structure that moved with a curling motion”.
Doctors were able to use a stool sample to find more of the parasite’s eggs in the man’s abdomen and confirm that he was suffering from Ascaris lumbricoides – what’s more commonly referred to as roundworms.
What is Ascaris lumbricoides?
Ascaris lumbricoides – otherwise known as just Ascaris or ascariasis – parasites embed themselves in the intestines of their carriers and account for a major burden of parasitic disease worldwide.
It is caused by ingesting parasitic eggs from contaminated soil.
“This can happen when hands or fingers that have contaminated dirt on them are put in the mouth, or by consuming vegetables or fruits that have not been carefully cooked, washed, or peeled,” the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) says.
According to the CDCP, up to 1.2 billion people have these parasitic worms living in their intestinal tract.
Some worms have been reported to have grown to be 35cm in length.
The New England Journal of Medicine wrote that the New Delhi man was given the drug albendazole to treat his case of Ascaris.
After just one day he was able to leave the hospital and later confirmed that he was free of the infection.