10 Symptoms of Hookworms in Humans

By carolynne
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Creeping Eruption.' Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/creeping-eruption
  • 2. Wei, Kun-Yan, et al. 'Hookworm Infection: A Neglected Cause of Overt Obscure Gastrointestinal Bleeding.' The Korean Journal of Parasitology, The Korean Society for Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, Aug. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5594735
  • 3. 'CDC - Hookworm - Disease.' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Jan. 2013, www.cdc.gov/parasites/hookworm/disease.html
  • 4. Texas Department of State Health Services. 'Hookworm.' Texas Department of State Health Services, www.dshs.texas.gov/IDCU/disease/Hookworm.aspx
  • 5. 'Hookworm Infection: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.' MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000629.htm
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Hookworms are parasites that attach to the wall of the intestine. Although hookworms are transmitted through the skin, they travel through the body, enter the lungs and end up in the intestine, where they mature. Many people don't have symptoms, but when the parasite burden is high, some individuals experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The wavy thread-like rash is the first sign of hookworms in humans.

Eggs from hookworms are passed through human and dog feces. The parasites can end up in soil in areas with bad sanitation and poor waste control. Hookworm is more common in children than adults, as they tend to play outside more.

Itchy Rash

Most hookworm infestations start with a localized rash called a creeping eruption, which is caused by an allergic reaction to the toxins released by the worm larvae. The rash typically appears on areas of the body that have been exposed to the hookworm parasite. These areas are normally the feet, legs and buttocks.1‘Creeping Eruption.’ Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/creeping-eruption

Characterized by raised meandering lines under the skin, the rash is usually red and unbearably itchy. People who are infected frequently report that the rash looks like worms burrowing under the skin. It's best to seek medical advice and get medication before the parasite burden increases.


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