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Ascariasis Infection and My Daughter Adopted from China

By Mary Jean Glick

A mother who recently adopted a young girl from China shares her experiences with Ascariasis and provides information on how to cope.

Last Sunday morning, my beautiful 30 month old daughter from China pooped a live six-inch worm.  Six months ago when we adopted her, I was fully prepared for such an eventuality, but I had gotten relaxed about it and it came as a bit of a shock.  She had a stool test done when she came home & was treated for giardia, but this was missed or it had not reached the developmental stage in which eggs would have been detected in her stool. The pediatrician's office seemed pretty surprised - they sent it to the lab and seemed to have no idea what it was until the results came back.  I checked out the family medical guide and ran a check of all the E-Mail messages from all those other parents out there and began putting together some information about the little critters. 

The name of the disease is ascariasis, and it is caused by the worm ascaris lumbricoides.  There is plenty of information on the Internet, including pictures if you want to learn more.  See and   The proper treatment is Vermox, 2 tablets per day for three days.  It takes two to three months from infestation, which is acomplished by swallowing the worm eggs, either because you have gotten them on your hands or because you have eaten food that was grown in fertilizer that contained the eggs.   The disease is most common in developing countries in tropical and subtropical regions where 80 to 90% of the population may have the worm.  Generally, the worm inhabits the intestines, and unless the infestation is substantial, there may be no symptoms.  Our daughter certainly had virtually none; she has grown over four inches and gained about 9 pounds in the past six months, although her first blood test did reveal mild anemia, which can be caused by the worms.  Unfortunately, the worms occasionally migrate to other places in the body to reek havoc and have sometimes crawled out by crawling up the throat, which was what scared the daylights out of me.  My daughter, husband & I have just finished taking the medicine; my understanding is that anyone with worms should eliminate them in a couple of days after the medicine is finished.

One final note:  a parent in our daycare became absolutely convinced that my daughter got these worms from my dogs - do not let yourself get sucked into this bit of paranoia like I did.  The only host for ascaris lumbricoides is humans.  There are a few parasites that your children can share with the pets - including the roundworms toxocara canis, which infests dogs and cats, toxascasris leonina, which infests dogs and cats, and toxocara cati, which infests cats.  It can all become a bit confusing, because veterinarians call roundworms in dogs "ascarids" and that sounds awfully close to what our daughter had, but it is not the same.  By the time I had gotten my Internet connection up and running and had figured all this out, I had spent $72 on worm medicine for the dogs to pacify the mom in daycare.  For more on this topic see and

© Copyright Mary Jean Glick 1999

Mary Jean Glick is the proud mom of a daughter, born 1996, LianJiang County, Guangdong Province, P.R.C. She may be reached at

Adoption Health

Parasite Infection Factsheet

Ascaris (Round Worms)
Ascaris Factsheet
Ascariasis & My Daughter Adopted from China

Giardia in Children from Orphanages, Dr. Aronson
Giardia & Adoption from Asia
Giardia Factsheet

Hookworm Factsheet

More Articles on Comeunity:
Infectious Disease and the Internationally Adopted Child, Dr. Jenista
Honey I Passed A Worm! Dr. Wise
Upon Your Return, Dr. Wise
Parasites Outdoors, Dr. Wise

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