What are the symptoms of hookworm disease?

In most cases, you will not experience symptoms if you have a hookworm infestation in the intestines. However, as the hookworm larvae mature in the intestines, gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, may sometimes occur. Some people experience itching, swelling or redness of the skin where the larvae entered the body. Coughing and respiratory symptoms may result from the presence of hookworm larvae in the lungs.

Common gastrointestinal symptoms of hookworm disease

Hookworm disease may cause gastrointestinal symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Bloody stool (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea with or without vomiting

Other symptoms of hookworm disease

Hookworm disease can sometimes cause symptoms in other body systems. Examples include:

  • Blood-tinged sputum
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Itchy rash
  • Pale skin or pallor

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, hookworm disease can be a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration, potentially requiring intravenous fluids
  • Symptoms of anemia such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and fatigue, which can be due to blood loss from the hookworm attaching itself to the intestine; pregnant women, the elderly, and those in poor health are susceptible

What is hookworm disease?

Hookworm disease is a parasitic disease caused by the entry of larvae (immature form) of the hookworm, most commonly, Necator americanus, into a human host. People usually get hookworm disease by walking barefoot in soil that is contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Hookworm larvae enter through the skin, typically on the foot, and travel up through the bloodstream into the lu... Read more about hookworm diseaseintroduction


What causes hookworm disease?

Hookworm disease is caused by parasitic hookworms in the human body, usually picked up from contact with contaminated soil. Necator americanus is the type of hookworm that most commonly causes infestation in the United States, but other types of hookworm may also cause disease in humans and animals. Hookworm infestation is most common in moist, subtropical areas. Hookworm eggs are deposited into the soil through contaminated human feces. After hookworm larvae hatch from these eggs and come into contact with a human host, they penetrate the skin and enter the body.... Read more about hookworm diseasecauses


How is hookworm disease treated?

Treatment for hookworm disease begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have hookworms, your health care provider will ask you to provide stool samples for laboratory testing.... Read more about hookworm diseasetreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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