Infection, pinworm: An infestation of the intestinal tract by small, white pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis). Pinworms are about the length of a staple, and they live for the most part within the human rectum. While a pinworm-infested person is asleep, female pinworms leave the intestines through the anus and deposit eggs on the skin around the anus. Most symptoms of pinworms are mild, such as anal itching, disturbed sleep, and irritability. Pinworm is the most common worm infection in the US. School-age children have the highest rates of pinworm infestation, followed in frequency by preschoolers. Pinworms spread easily in daycare centers, schools, and homes. Within a few hours of being deposited on the skin around the anus, pinworm eggs become capable of infesting another person. They can survive up to 2 weeks on clothing, bedding, or other objects. If pinworms are suspected, transparent adhesive tape or a pinworm paddle supplied by a health care provider is applied to the anal region. The eggs adhere to the sticky tape or paddle and are identified via examination under a microscope. Also known as enterobiasis. Treatment requires antibiotics.
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