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 (often worse after eating)
  • Bloody stool (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • 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 lungs. ... 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 int... 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.

    Anthelmintics, which are drugs that eliminate parasitic worms, are the standard treatment for hookworm disease. It is important to follow your treatment plan preci... Read more about hookworm diseasetreatments

    Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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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