Pathogenesis of hookworm.

Hookworm is the infection of the intestine by a nematode. There are two types- Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus. These worms enter into the upper part of the small intestine and can live for several years in the host. These parasites attach to the mucosa through their teeth and develop by feeding on the hosts blood and mucosa.

Female hookworms that have infected a host produce a number of eggs which are passed through the system of the host and out of the faeces to develop in the soil. The larva then feeds on microorganisms and develops into the infectious stage- also known as L3. The L3 then migrates to blades of grass where it can move to the top and come into contact with a new host. The larva then penetrates the skin of the host and the cycle begins again.



Some symptoms may include diarrhoea and tiredness, but the main symptom of this infection is Iron Deficiency Anaemia. This is due to the worms ingesting the blood of the human to prolong their life cycle.

Protein loss can also be seen, which can result in more serious deficiencies such as hyperproproteinaemia.
Women of reproductive age are also at risk of hookworm diseases due to reduced iron stores during pregnancy.



A faecal sample can be used to diagnose a potential sufferer. Microscopic examination through a Kato- Katz faecal-thick smear can be used to determine if there are hookworm larva in the stool sample.

(Loukas et al., 2006; Bethony et al., 2006)

True-False Question
Please complete this short true or false quiz after reading this section to test your knowledge on hookworm

1. There are two types of nematodes that infect humans.

True False

2. The nematode infects the lower part of the intestine.

True False

3. The nematode feeds on the blood and mucosa of the host.

True False