Human threadworm (Pinworm)

Enterobius vermicularis

Adult threadworms live in the human lower intestine and colon. At night female worms migrate outside the body and lay their eggs on the skin around the anus.

This migration causes intense itching in the anal region and scratching by the afflicted person may lead to reinfection, if good personal hygiene is not practised. Ingestion of eggs from contaminated material may also start an infection.

Threadworm infections often occur in young children, who exhibit symptoms such as restlessness, loss of appetite and insomnia.

Threadworm has given rise to the dreaded 'sticky-tape test', an effective method of diagnosis using tape which is then viewed under a microscope to discover the eggs (the actual technique is left to your imagination...).

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.