Epidemiology

Enterobiasis is probably the most common parasite infection in the world. While other worms are often nearly eradicated mainly due to an increase in community hygiene standards in many developed countries, enterobiasis is the only worm infection which still is rather prevalent in the population. Enterobiasis is common in all countries and infects people of all ages but infections are especially frequent in children of 5-10 years of age (Juckett 1995) and the number of infected subjects globally has been calculated to be in the range of one billion. When children live in crowded conditions, the infection is easily spread and infection rates up to 80-90% have been reported from institutions in developing countries (Makhlouf et al. 1994). In infected families, adults and children usually share the infection and re-infections after drug therapy are common. This infection may also spread sexually, especially between homosexuals. In institutions, the disease is spread in a similar way as many bacteria (e.g. streptococci and pneumococci). Commonly, viable eggs will transmit the disease via direct and indirect contacts from bed-linen, clothes, toys, etc. Therefore, enterobiasis is a disease that is rather difficult to eradicate.

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