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Enterobius (Pinworm)

Trevor A. Crowell, M.D.
Enterobius (Pinworm) is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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  • Pinworms are intestinal nematodes (aka roundworms).
  • Disease is also known as Enterobiasis or threadworm disease, caused by Enterobius vermicularis.
  • Epidemiology: worldwide. Most common nematode infection in U.S., with 40 million cases per year.
    • Infection is mostly seen in children.
    • Increased prevalence with congestion, institutionalization and infestation within family members.
      • Larger family size is associated with increased risk.
  • Lifespan of worm is 11-35 days, so chronic disease is due to reinfection rather than persistent infection.
    • Eggs are deposited nocturnally in perianal/perineal regions.
    • Self-infection can occur by transferring eggs to the mouth after scratching the perianal area.
    • Eggs are transferred under contaminated fingernails, in dust and through contaminated clothes or linens.
  • Life cycle: (Figure 1)
    • Eggs are deposited on perianal folds by gravid females and transferred to the mouth by contamination of hands, clothes or bed linens.
    • Ingested eggs hatch into larvae in the small intestine.
    • Larvae mature into adults in the colon and gravid females migrate nocturnally outside the anus to lay eggs.
    • Each female worm can produce more than 10,000 eggs. Eggs remain viable for an average of 1-2 weeks. Infectivity decreases within 1 to 2 days in dry, warm environments.

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Last updated: November 29, 2015


Crowell, Trevor A. "Enterobius (Pinworm)." Johns Hopkins ABX Guide, The Johns Hopkins University, 2015. Pediatrics Central, peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/Johns_Hopkins_ABX_Guide/540202/all/Enterobius__Pinworm_.
Crowell TA. Enterobius (Pinworm). Johns Hopkins ABX Guide. The Johns Hopkins University; 2015. https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/Johns_Hopkins_ABX_Guide/540202/all/Enterobius__Pinworm_. Accessed April 19, 2019.
Crowell, T. A. (2015). Enterobius (Pinworm). In Johns Hopkins ABX Guide. Available from https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/Johns_Hopkins_ABX_Guide/540202/all/Enterobius__Pinworm_
Crowell TA. Enterobius (Pinworm) [Internet]. In: Johns Hopkins ABX Guide. The Johns Hopkins University; 2015. [cited 2019 April 19]. Available from: https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/Johns_Hopkins_ABX_Guide/540202/all/Enterobius__Pinworm_.
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TY - ELEC T1 - Enterobius (Pinworm) ID - 540202 A1 - Crowell,Trevor,M.D. Y1 - 2015/11/29/ BT - Johns Hopkins ABX Guide UR - https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/Johns_Hopkins_ABX_Guide/540202/all/Enterobius__Pinworm_ PB - The Johns Hopkins University DB - Pediatrics Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -