|Description:||Magnified 128X, this photomicrograph revealed some of the ultrastructural features displayed by a Trichuris trichiura egg. The nematode, or roundworm, is also called the human whipworm. T. trichiura eggs are 50µm-55µm by 20µm-25µm. As is exemplified by this specimen, eggs are football-shaped, thick-shelled, and possess a pair of polar “plugs” at each end. Eggs are passed unembryonated in stool.|
Most frequently asymptomatic. Heavy infections, especially in small children, can cause gastrointestinal problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal prolapse) and possibly growth retardation.
Microscopic identification of whipworm eggs in feces is evidence of infection. Because eggs may be difficult to find in light infections, a concentration procedure is recommended. Because the severity of symptoms depend on the worm burden, quantification of the latter (e.g. with the Kato-Katz technique) can prove useful.