By Sienna Purse
The hookworm is a parasitic nematode that lives inside the small intestine of mammals such as humans, dogs, and cats. The hookworm belongs to the phylum nematoda. There are two different species of hookworms, Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator Americanus. The species of Ancylostoma duodenale predominates in the Middle East, north Africa, India, and southern Europe, while Necator Americanus predominates in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, China, and Indonesia. The most significant risk of hookworm infection is anemia, secondary to loss of iron and protein in the gut. Hookworms suck blood and damage the mucosa. Hookworms are the leading cause of maternal and child morbidity in the developing countries of the tropics and the subtropics. Hookworms are thought to infect more than 600 million people worldwide.
Hookworms are long, skinny worms that are unsegmented. Hookworms come in different sizes from as long as one meter to as tiny as microscopic. Hookworms have three germ layers, the endoderm, exoderm, and mesoderm. Hookworms are psuedo-coelomates. Unlike flatworms, the digestive system of the hookworm has two openings. Ancylostoma Duodenale worms are grayish white or pinkish white with the head slightly bent in relation to the rest of the body. This forms a hook shape and is the reason for the naming of this worm. They possess well developed mouths with two pairs of teeth. The hookworm then excretes it's waste through the anus.
III. Form and Function
Hookworms thrive on the blood living animals. One can come in contact with hookworms by walking barefoot through contaminated soil. Also walking or running barefoot through an area that contains dog feces puts you at risk. When a hookworm finds a bare foot or an animal, they hook onto the passer with its sharp teeth-like plates and then burrow into the skin. They then burrow into the new host's bloodstream. After, they travel through the bloodstream to get into the lungs, then eventually the intestines. The worms then attach themselves into the walls of the intestines and start sucking the host's blood. Hookworms drink between 0.03- 0.2 mL of blood per day. Hookworms cause their host weakness and bad growth. Hookworms have no predators because they infect anything that eats them. In fact it is easier for them to be eaten because they don't have to go through the trouble of going through the bloodstream and instead go straight to the intestines. Hookworms are not hermaphroditic, therefore they have male and female worms and reproduce sexually. The male hookworm shoots sperm into the reproductive tract of the female. Female hookworms produce about 10,000- 20,000 eggs per day. These eggs are passed out of the body through the host's feces. the eggs take about 48 hours to incubate in the soil until they hatch into immature larvae. These larvae take about 6 weeks to develop into mature hookworms. Once they are fully developed the cycle starts all over again.
IV. Impact on the World/Humanity
It has been suspected that approximately 600 million to 1 billion people are affected by hookworms. Hookworms arise from a combination of intestinal inflammation and progressive iron/protein-deficiency anemia. Larval invasion of the skin might lead to intense, local itching, usually on the foot or lower leg, which can be followed by lesions that look like insect bites and can blister. These lesions can last for a week or more. Coughing, chest pain, wheezing, and fever will sometimes occur. Epigastric pains, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea occur later. Signs of advanced severe infection are those of anemia and protein deficiency, including emaciation, cardiac failure, and abdominal distension with ascites.
V. Journal Article Review
This article was not about hookworms in general. This is a story of how Jasper Lawrence infected himself with 50 hookworms to rid himself of asthma. Lawrence's asthma had gotten so bad to where he could no longer play with his kids or walk up one flight of stairs without being winded. His aunt then told him about a BBC radio documentary she heard about the parasitic hookworms treating allergies. He researched this topic non-stop until he finally decided he would go to Africa to be infected. He went to Cameroon's local villages and proceeded to walk around without shoes. He then came home and saw that he had no changes or symptoms until one day in early spring he rolled down his car window and had no reactions like he would have normally had. Lawrence then decided that he would help others with terrible conditions such as Crohn's, hay fever, or multiple sclerosis. He ended up starting a business through these by harvesting his own hookworms out of his feces and then repeatedly cleaning them and then at last packaging them in small containers. The FDA started to investigate him so him and his business partner up and left and have been traveling around the world hiding from the FDA.
Hookworm- Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. (n.d.) Wikipedia, the free encylopedia. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookworm
Hookworm- Creation Wiki, the Encyclopedia of Creation Science. (n.d.) Creation Wiki, the Encyclopedia of Creation Science. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://creationwiki.org/hookworm
Hookworm Disease- The Free Dictionary. (n.d.) The Free Dictionary. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/hookworm+disease
Hookworm Infection- Parasitic Disease Information. (n.d.) CDC. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/hookworm/factsht_hookworm.htm
(Figure 1) http://amazinghumanbody-prakash.blogspot.com/2009/09/diseases-of-digestive-system.html
(Figure 2) http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/VV/B/B/F/K/_/vvbbfk.jpg
(Figure 3) http://creationwiki.org/Hookworm