Hookworm disease (Ankylostomiasis) is the infestation of the small intestine by small worms (Ancylostoma duodenale or Necator americanus).
These worms, which grow up to 0.5 inches (12mm) long, enter the body through the skin, sometimes leaving an itching rash, travel to the lung via the blood and lymph systems, ascend the respiratory tract, are swallowed, and reach the intestine about a week after entering the skin.
They attach themselves to the inside of the small intestine and suck blood, which can lead to severe iron deficiency anemia, particularly in malnourished individuals. Their eggs are excreted in the feces and end up living in soil as larvae until they can reenter human skin.
Hookworm disease is more common in areas of the world where a hot climate and damp earth are favorable conditions for larvae to thrive, especially if there is poor sanitation as well. The worms usually enter the skin through bare feet that come into contact with larva-den soil.

Hookworm disease symptoms

Symptoms of Hookworm disease may be pain, diarrhea, nausea, or colic. A long infection can lead to anemia with all the symptoms that accompany that disorder. If the disease is undiscovered in children, it may retard growth and mental development.
Hookworm disease is diagnosed by testing the feces for eggs.