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Deworming

Intestinal worms, also known as parasitic worms, are simple organisms that feed off the human body.1

Common types of intestinal worms include:2

  • Roundworms which include Ascaris roundworm, pinworm, whipworm, threadworm and hookworm infections.
  • Flatworms which include tapeworms and flukes.

Studies performed in different areas in South Africa found that primary school children are mostly affected by soil-transmitted parasites and have the highest infection rate, either with a single worm infestation or mixed infections (2 two types of worms).3-6

Adults are also affected but to a much lesser extent.4

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GET TO KNOW THE COMMON INTESTINAL WORMS

Intestinal worms differ from each other in terms of life cycles, transmission and the symptoms they cause after infestation.

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Roundworms2

Roundworms are simple multicellular parasites with their own digestive system.

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Ascaris Roundworm

Transmission (spread by):

Ingestion (by mouth) – through eating food or drinking water

Specific symptoms:

Mild symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, weight loss and diarrhoea. If present in the lung then fever, wheezing and coughing can occur.

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Type: Whipworm

Transmission:

Ingestion (by mouth) via food or water

Specific symptoms:

Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite. With a heavy infestation, bleeding from the intestines, severe abdominal cramps, anaemia, appendicitis and rectal prolapse may occur.

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Type: Hookworm

Transmission:

Through the skin

Specific symptoms:

Rash and itching at the site of entry.

Heavy infections can cause stomach pain, anaemia, weight loss, as well as poor growth and mental retardation in children.

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Type: Threadworm

Transmission:

Through the skin

Specific symptoms:

Some people may not show any symptoms. They can have itching and rashes on buttocks or waist area, abdominal pain, diarrhoea alternating with constipation, nausea, vomiting, coughing blood-stained mucus.

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Type: Pinworm

Transmission:

Ingestion from environment

Specific symptoms:

Itching around the anus, irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness, weight loss and poor appetite, nail-biting and grinding of teeth. Vaginal itching and irritation may occur in girls.

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Flatworms2

These are simple parasites without any circulatory or respiratory system. They feed off the blood and tissue of it’s host (people or animals) to survive.2,6

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Type: Trematodes or Flukes*

Transmission:

Skin

Specific symptoms:

Usually cause no or mild symptoms but can cause severe infection with stomach pain, diarrhoea and fever.

*Not all deworming medicines are indicated to treat trematodes/flukes.

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Type: Tapeworm

Transmission:

Ingestion – meat

Specific symptoms:

Can often have no symptoms. People may have stomach pain, diarrhoea, weight loss, weakness, and nausea.

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PREVENTING INFESTATION

To prevent intestinal worms, strict hygiene practices are needed, as well as regular deworming.1,2

Hand washing

  • Wash hands before and after using the toilet.
  • Wash hands before cooking or handling food, as well as before eating meals.

The spread of parasitic (worm) infections can occur directly or indirectly through objects contaminated with faeces, including food, water, fingers and fingernails. Handwashing is important to stop the spread of faecal-oral human-to-human transmission.10

Safe food practices

  • Thoroughly cook all types of meat before consumption.
  • Never eat undercooked or raw meats.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
  • Thoroughly wash and peel fruit or vegetables.
  • Only use clean water.

Skin protection

  • Avoid swimming in sources of unclean water.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in sandy areas where contamination with faecal matter is possible.
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DEWORMING RECOMMENDATIONS7,8

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends annual deworming in areas where the prevalence of infections is 20 % or more, and twice yearly deworming in areas where prevalence is over 50 %.

In South Africa, it is recommended that all members of the family get dewormed twice a year.

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A TYPICAL SCENARIO

Portia has a 4-year-old daughter, Lebogang, who has been suffering from nausea and abdominal (stomach) cramps. Lebogang is complaining of stomach pains and an itchy rash and she also tends to scratch her waist and bum. Lebogang loves playing in the sandbox at school and has trouble with alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Thabo, her 10-year old son, has a rash on his waist and started scratching his buttocks.

Is it worms?

Threadworm infestation is likely due to the children’s age, the presence of a transmission medium (sandbox) at school, close contact between family members, stomach pain and cramps, bum itching and scratching as well as alternating diarrhoea and constipation.

Always consult your pharmacist or doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.

What can you do about it?

Your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe or dispense deworming treatment over-the-counter.

 

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Product information: Vermox®

Vermox® is a type of over-the-counter deworming medicine that can be used for children over the age of 1 year and adults. It treats most types of intestinal worms infestations and is available in different formulations for either 3-day treatments or single dose treatments.

As per the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965, Section 22A(4) and (5), S1 and S2 product recommendations can only be made by a pharmacist, pharmacist intern or a pharmacist’s assistant acting under the personal supervision of a pharmacist.

For full prescribing information, refer to the package insert approved by the Medicines Regulatory Authority ZA-VE-2100004

For full prescribing information, please refer to the package insert approved by the Regulatory Authority. ® Trademark © Johnson & Johnson (Pty) Ltd 2021. ZA-IM-2100001.

Talk to us on sharecall 0860 410032 or email jnjza@its.jnj.com.

Always ask your pharmacist or doctor for appropriate treatment options for you and your family.

Medical References

  1. Johnson J. Intestinal worms in humans and their symptoms. Medical News Today. Accessed 2020/04/20. Available at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324042#takeaway.
  2. Farrer F. Helminth infections – a review. Prof Nurs Today 2016;20(4):3-7
  3. Adams VJ, et al. Paradoxical helminthiasis and giardiasis in Cape Town, South Africa: epidemiology and control. African Health Sciences 2005;(5)2:131-136
  4. Kwitshana ZL, Tsoka JM, Mabaso MLH. Intestinal parasitic infections in adult patients in KwaZulu-Natal. SAMJ 2008(98)9:709-711
  5. Muller I. et al. Intestinal parasites, growth and physical fitness of schoolchildren in poor neighbourhoods of Port Elizabeth, South Africa: a cross-sectional survey. Parasites & Vectors 2016(9):488
  6. Pearson RD. Fluke infections of the intestines. Merck Manual Consumer Version. Accessed 2020/04/20. Available at https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/infections/parasitic-infections-trematodes-flukes/fluke-infections-of-the-intestines.
  7. Deworming. World Health Organisation (WHO). Accessed 2020/04/20. Available at https://www.who.int/elena/titles/full_recommendations/deworming/en/.
  8. Vermox HCP Claims Study. Study completed for Johnson & Johnson (PTY) LTD. Prepared by Global Strategic Insights & Analytics, December 2019.
  9. Swanepoel E, Liebenberg W, de Villiers MM. Quality evaluation of generic drugs by dissolution test: changing the USP dissolution medium to distinguish between active and non-active mebendazole polymorphs. Eur J Pharm Biopharm, 2003;55:345-349.
  10. Suriptiastuti and Widiastuti S. Manan. Intestinal parasites from fingernails of sidewalk food vendors. Univ Med 2011;30:120-125.

As per the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965, Section 22A(4) and (5), S1 and S2 product recommendations can only be made by a pharmacist, pharmacist intern or a pharmacist’s assistant acting under the personal supervision of a pharmacist.

S1 VERMOX® Suspension. Each 5 ml suspension contains 100 mg Mebendazole Polymorph C. Reg. No. K/12/206.

S1 VERMOX® 100 mg tablets. Each tablet contains 100 mg Mebendazole Polymorph C.  Reg. No. G/12/105.

S1 VERMOX® SD Suspension. Each bottle (10 ml suspension) contains 500 mg Mebendazole Polymorph C. Reg. No. 34/12/0058.

S1 VERMOX® 500 mg tablet. Each tablet contains 500 mg Mebendazole Polymorph C. Reg. No. W/12/42.  

For full prescribing information, refer to the package insert approved by the Medicines Regulatory Authority ZA-VE-2100004

For full prescribing information, please refer to the package insert approved by the Regulatory Authority. ® Trademark © Johnson & Johnson (Pty) Ltd 2021. ZA-IM-2100001.

Talk to us on sharecall 0860 410032 or email jnjza@its.jnj.com.

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