Not deworming can cause malnutrition, intestinal perforation, death –Paediatricians
Paediatricians have urged parents to ensure regular deworming of their under-five children to avoid complications associated with worm infestations.
They noted that not deworming children as specified by the World Health Organisation can lead to malnutrition, low blood count, intestinal perforation and death.
According to the WHO, periodic deworming programmes with a single-tablet treatment can drastically reduce the suffering of those infected with parasitic intestinal worms and protect the 1.5 billion people currently estimated to be at risk.
A Consultant Paediatrician, Nephrology Division, Federal Medical Centre, Katsina State, Dr. Abdurrazzaq Alege, explained that deworming is a way of removing intestinal worms from the body.
He said failure to deworm a child can lead to shortage of blood, loss of iron in the body and stunted growth.
“Some of these worms suck blood from the body, especially hookworms, and this may result to the child passing out blood in the urine and stool.
“There may also be chronic blood loss from the intestine and as a result, the child can have anaemia.
“The worms could feed on the host tissues, and iron content will be lost. Iron is a micronutrient necessary for several developments in the body. So, this is also an implication.
“Evidence of malnutrition can be seen in a child that has too many worms in the body. Once the child is malnourished, the child would not grow well and will appear stunted. So these are complications that can happen as a result of having too many worms in the body,” Dr. Alege said.
The paediatrician warned that failure to deworm children puts them at the risk of developing worm balls, which can block the intestine and lead to intestinal perforation.
The worms responsible for intestinal blockage, he said, are the roundworms, known asascariasis.
Dr. Alege said a child with fewer worms in the body experiences better growth.
He added, “However, most of the worms especially the hook worms mop up the blood and with this, there can be reduction in nutrients that are essential for overall body growth, including the brain.