Moving Parasites in the Colon

Parasites - This parasite filmed in a man's colon during a routine colonoscopy has been identified as a whipworm known as Trichuris trichiura. Trichuris trichiura, or whipworm (from its movement which resembles a whip), causes Trichuriasis, a parasitic infection primarily in the tissue of the colon, cecum, appendix and rectum. Trichuris is an intestinal parasitic nematode, or roundworm. The Disease. As with the other major soil-transmitted helminths of significance, whipworm infection is usually asymptomatic, although this also contributes to its insidious nature during chronic infections. The whipworm's mucosal attachment and embedding in the epithelium of the large intestine described above leads to pathogenesis. Diarrhea and abdominal discomfort are the most common presentations for symptomatic infections and frank dysentery is not uncommon with high volume infections. In addition, rectal prolapse can also present with high volume infections because of the frequent physical straining during defecation. This straining results from the massive rectal inflammatory response in heavy infections, which gives the infected person the sensation to defecate even when feces are absent. The most significant presentation at the population level is iron-deficiency anemia associated with chronic and/or high volume infections. The anemia is brought on by the large quantity of blood loss in the colon due to the infestation of worms embedded in the epithelium and the subsequent damage to the gut wall and underlying vasculature. As is the case with hookworm, chronic whipworm-associated anemia frequently leads to arrested growth with associated physical and cognitive developmental delay and impairment.