In a shocking incident, hookworms sucked at least 22 litres of blood from the body of a 14-year-old boy and what is worse, it lasted for as long as two years! Inexplicably, the child was treated by the doctors for anaemia for a long time. However, as his condition deteriorated, much later a deeper examination showed the presence of horrific number of hookworms that were sucking away the blood of the boy. They drank a whopping 22 litres of blood from the boy over two years, reported the reported the Indian Express. Finally, a tiny wireless camera was inserted inside the small intestines of the boy from Haldwani and doctors could see two distinct images. The first half of the intestines appeared normal, but the second half had turned an angry blood red.
Hookworm infection is common in the country which can be prevented by not walking barefoot and ensuring that the food consumed is clean and not contaminated. But the case became unique because the problem went undiagnosed for two years. Instead, doctors kept treating the boy for anaemia. But as the medication does not have the desired effect, doctors conducted a capsule endoscopy. Shockingly, the condition of teh boy deteriorated so much that he even received 50 units of blood. To the doctors’ surprise, during the examination, they found dancing worms buried in the mucosa of the small bowel, which were actively sucking blood.
Dr Anil Arora , the chairperson of the department of gastroenterology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, was quoted as saying, “Hookworm is a common problem in India. It resides in the small intestines and causes chronic anaemia. But in this case, while the boy had low haemoglobin of 5.86, there was no associated pain in the abdomen, fever, and diarrhoea. The boy had constant loss of blood. And the doctors had repeatedly conducted endoscopy of the foodpipe, colonoscopy and radiographic contrast studies of intestines — which were reported to be normal. For two years, doctors could not diagnose that hookworms in the small intestines were the reason behind the blood loss.”
“In view of the child’s obscure gastrointestinal bleeding, we conducted a capsule endoscopy, where a tiny wireless camera is inserted into your digestive tract. The results shocked us. We could see multiple hookworms buried in the small intestines, actively sucking blood with dancing movement. The blood could be seen in the cavity of the hookworms, giving them a red colour,” Dr Arora said.