History of Pinworm Infections
Pinworms have been around for centuries. Enterobius vermicularis eggs have been discovered in human remains dated 7837 B.C . This is over 10,000 years ago, even before the wheel was invented! According to Cox (2002), Roman physicians were familiar with pinworms or Enterobius vermicularis, roundworms Ascaris lumbricoides, and tapeworms from 25 BC. Arabic doctors from over a thousand years ago have also recorded the Enterobius worms in their records .
The pinworm was named Enterobius vermicularis by Linnaeus, the famous Swedish botanist and the father of modern taxonomy (also the ‘Prince of Botanists,’ and the founder of modern ecology).
How is it Spread?
Enterobiasis is spread through fecal-oral transmission and is highly contagious. Pinworm eggs can cause itching in the perianal region (around the anus). When an infected person scratches the area, the eggs can get on their fingers and under their fingernails and spread to linen, bedding, clothes, food, and other items. Other individuals who then touch these contaminated surfaces risk ingesting the eggs and getting infected. Pinworm eggs can live on surfaces for about two weeks.
In rare cases, since the eggs are small, they can be airborne and inhaled .
Individuals at risk are pre-school and school-aged children, institutionalized individuals and their caregivers, and people who may be around any infected children. It affects boys more than girls at a ratio of 2:1, but there can be higher cases for girls between the ages of 5 and 14 .