Pinworms (Pinworm Infection in Children and Adults, Enterobiasis)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Pinworms (Enterobiasis) Infection

What are the consequences if pinworms aren't treated?

Untreated pinworms may cause or have a role in causing:

Complications may include endometriosis, salpingitis, urethritis, urinary tract infection (UTI), vulvovagininitis, and possibly appendicitis.

Can pinworms be prevented?

Good hygiene will help reduce the spread of the parasites.

  • Hand washing after handling bedding, diapers, underwear, and other items that may contain the infective pinworm eggs will also help.
  • Cleaning under the fingernails and not biting the fingernails will also help reduce the chance of contacting the parasites.
  • Clothes, especially underwear, should be changed and washed daily to help prevent spreading the disease.
  • Treating everyone infected in a household at the same time may help prevent recurrence and spread to others.
  • Because the eggs remain infective for up to three weeks in a moist environment, prevention of spread and reinfection is difficult but possible.

REFERENCE:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Enterobiasis (also known as Pinworm Infection)." Updated Feb 9, 2016.
<http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/pinworm/health_professionals/>

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2016

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