Pinworm Infection

The pinworm infection is a relatively widespread parasitic disease that spreads in children communities and is related to poor hygienic conditions. The most typical pinworm causing the infection is the so-called Enterobius vermicularis.


The pinworms are parasitic worms living in the intestines. The individuals reach a length of about 1 centimeter. The infection occurs when the eggs are ingested and get into the digestive tract. The transmission occurs during close contact (dirty hands), or when the pinworm eggs contaminate food. Male and female pinworms grow from the eggs in the intestines. The female pinworms are fertilized, move to the anal area and lay their eggs. The eggs are laid around the anus and especially during the night. This is accompanied with unpleasant itching of the anus. Man scratches, the eggs get under the nails and may spread further.


As noted above, the infection manifests mainly by itching of the anus during the night. The child may be sleepy, tired and annoyed. Frequent scratching of the anal area may damage skin cover and lead to local bacterial skin infections.


The diagnosis must be confirmed by finding the pinworms eggs. This is usually done early in the morning by using a special tape that is taped to the anal area and subsequently taken off. Any eggs in the area remain stuck to the tape and can be viewed under the microscope.


The best prevention is sufficient hygiene to reduce the risk of eggs transmission. Regular hand washing with soap is necessary and it is advisable to also wash any fruit and vegetables that may be contaminated by the pinworm eggs.


Antiparasitic drugs are the therapy of choice. They are very effective, but some substances may turn the urine reddish.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources