Parasitic Worms that can Penetrate Intact Skin


ISSN: 1059-6518

Parasitic worms and shoes – all about why, to stay healthy, we wear shoes.

By Frank Hubbell, DO

Illustrations By T.B.R. Walsh

The intention of this article is to explain why you should never, ever walk around the great outdoors barefoot, and why you should never, ever lie on moist ground exposing unprotected bare skin to the soil.

The reason is actually quite simple and a bit disgusting. There are parasitic worms that can live in warm, moist soil. When they come into contact with your skin, they will latch on to you, make a hole in your intact, healthy skin, and burrow into you. Once inside, they will proceed to their target organ, usually your intestinal tract, and parasitize you. As their unwilling host, you become sick and are now part of their life cycle.


Helminthes are parasitic worms in the Kingdom of Animalia.

Within this Kingdom there are two Phylum of parasitic worms, Platyhelmenthes and Nematoda.

The Phylum of Platyhelmenthes has two Classes of parasitic worms, Cestodes – tapeworms and Trematodes – flukes and flatworms.

The Phylum of Nematoda contains one Class of parasitic worms, Nematoda – roundworms.

There are many ways to divide up the world or parasitic worms. One way to distinguish them is by how they enter and parasitize their host. Most commonly, these parasitic worms gain entrance via the alimentary canal when you consume contaminated food or water. The other way is by penetrating intact, healthy skin.

In this article we are going to review the parasitic worms that gain access to their host by directly penetrating intact, healthy skin.

Parasitic Nematodes that enter the body by penetrating intact skin:

Necator americanis /Ancylostoma duodenale – hookworm

Ancylostoma braziliense – cutaneous larva migrans

Strongyloides stercoralis – threadworm

Parasitic Trematodes that enter the body by penetrating intact skin:

Schistosomiasis – swimmer’s itch

All of the other parasitic worms: cestodes – tapeworms, nematodes – round worms, and trematodes – flatworms and flukes, enter by ingestion of the infectious parasite in food or water.

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Trichinella spiralis

November/December 2011 ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 24 Number 6

Somedays You Eat the Bear and Somedays the Bear Eats You


 By Frank Hubbell, DO

EMS call: Your squad is asked to respond to the home of a 35 year old male who states that he is very sick and needs to go the hospital, as he is to weak to drive himself.

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Hymenolepidiae tapeworms:

Hymenolepidiae tapeworms:

September/October 2011 ISSN-1059-6518 Volume 24 Number 5



By Frank Hubbell, DO

This is the scientific taxomony for the Class Cestoda – tapeworms. In previous issues of the WMN we have discussed the Taenia and Echinococcus tapeworms. In this edition we will explore the Hymenolepidiae tapeworms.

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March/April 2011  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 24 Number 2

By Frank Hubbell, DO

Illustrations by T.B.R. Walsh



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