Hookworm

Consider a family of five people with four out of the five infected with hookworms, producing on average some 4000eggs/g of faeces. Approximately 200 g of faeces are voided by the average person each day, so the four people are excreting 4 x 4000 x200 = 3.2 x 106 eggs/day. If each of these eggs results in a viable larva, then the potential for infection would be astronomical.

If the head of the household is now persuaded to install a latrine and he encourages his family to use it, then hopefully there should be no further contamination of the surroundings and infection will decrease as the worms die off. Unfortunately, his youngest child does not understand how to use a latrine and despite being taken to it by his mother, half of the stools are still deposited indiscriminately around the neighbourhood. This results in 100(g) x 4000 (eggs) = 4 x 105 eggs deposited, which means that the potential for infecting the rest of the family has hardly altered. (This is a simplistic example implying that the eggs will still be concentrated where infection is most likely to occur.)

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