Capillariasis is a parasitic infection of the intestines. The worms that cause the disease are most commonly found in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand.
Capillariasis is caused by the worm Capillaria philippinensis. These worms can enter the body when a person eats infected small freshwater fish, especially if eaten raw or cooked improperly.
These worms multiply in the small intestine once ingested, causing:
• Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea for more than two weeks
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Swelling of the body
• Muscle wasting
• Stomach growling
Capillariasis is diagnosed through a stool sample. It is treated by medications which are also used to treat other parasitic worm infections. These medications are given for 20 days for new cases and 30 days for relapse cases. Eggs and parasites should disappear from the stool within 4 days, and symptoms should disappear within a week of taking the medications.
Since the causative worm is food-borne, preventive measures focus on proper sanitation and food preparation:
• Cook fish thoroughly before eating.
• Avoid eating raw fish.
• Ensure the toilet is clean and sanitary before using it.
• Wash hands with soap and warm water after touching or working with soil and before handling food.