Life Cycle of a Whipworm:
About the Whip Worm
The whipworm derives its name from its whiplike shape; the adult (male, 30-45 mm; female, 35-50 mm) buries its thin, threadlike anterior half into the intestinal mucosa and feeds on tissue secretions, not blood. Whipworms have an elongated anterior end that contains the mouth and esophogus that stretches into a thread-like point. The posterior end is more blunt and contains the anus and sex organs. Male whipworms are 30-45 mm long, females are slightly larger, measuring 35 to 50 mm.
Location & Habitat
Trichuris trichiura is found throughout the world within temperate and tropical environments, but prefer the moisture of the tropics. They can live in the big intestine of humans and monkeys.
Whipworms live in the large intestine and whipworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected people. If the infected person defecates outside or if human feces as used as fertilizer, eggs are deposited on the soil. They can then mature into an infective form. Whipworm infection is caused by ingesting eggs. This can happen when hands or fingers that have contaminated dirt on them are put in the mouth or by consuming vegetables or fruits that have not been carefully cooked, washed or peeled.
- An estimated 604-795 million people in the world are infected with whipworm
- Whipworm is one of the worms being used in helminthic therapy which helps against allergies and autoimmune diseases
- You can contract whipworm by eating unwashed fruits and vegetables