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A 30-year-old female asked:

Do ascaris worms live on every surface?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Arnold Lentnek
Infectious Disease 53 years experience
Every? No: Ascariasis worms cycle between the intestine, out the anus and thru the lungs. They sometimes make a “detour” into the biliary system. After coming out in the stool they can contaminate soil and other surfaces and can then be ingested again. Surfaces contaminated by soil or stool can continue the cycle.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Soil: I agree with Dr. Lentnek. Not every surface. Ascaris lumbridoides (large round worms) eggs can remain alive in soil for months & sometimes years. When I was a child living in Taiwan and Okinawa, use of night soil as raw fertilizer was common which increased likelihood of becoming infected with Ascaris. In the US (although not prevalent) it is mostly found in the South East.

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Last updated Feb 15, 2021

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