Incubation period weeks

Period of communicability As long as adult female worms discharge eggs until 2 weeks after treatment.

Occurrence and distribution This very common infection is more prevalent in the temperate than tropical regions of the world, favouring conditions where poor hygiene prevails.

Control and prevention Good personal hygiene, particularly cutting of finger nails and washing hands, is the means of control. Bedding and underclothes need to be washed frequently at the same time as treatment is given.

Treatment is with piperazine 65 mg/kg for 7 days, pyrantel pamoate in a single dose of 10mg/kg (maximum 1g), repeated after 2 weeks, or albendazole or mebendazole 100 mg single dose repeated after 2 weeks. It is preferable to treat everyone in the group at the same time to break the transmission cycle.

Surveillance Regular checks in an institutional situation, especially on individuals with repeat infections will prevent spread throughout the establishment.

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