Hookworms Suck Twenty Two Liters Blood from 14-Year-Old Boy


In a very shocking and interesting case which took doctors six months to find out about Hookworms in a 14-year-old boy. The case was published recently by Department of Gastroenterology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy. The doctors were able to detect two distinct images by inserting tiny cameras inside the small intestines of a 14-year-old boy from Haldwani.

A deeper examination showed hookworms which had, over the last two years, silently sucked at least 22 litres of blood from the boy, doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said. On an average, a 14-year-old has a blood volume of four litres in his body. Doctors had, for a long time, suspected that the boy was suffering from anaemia.

“His diagnosis could not be established despite various tests including esophago-gastroduodenoscopy (EGD), colonoscopy and radiographic studies of intestines done earlier. More tests at our centre also came back normal. His haemoglobin was low at 5.86 gm/dl,” explained Dr. Anil Arora, chairperson, Department of Gastroenterology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

“ The results shocked us. We could see multiple hookworms buried in the small intestine and were seen actively sucking blood. Sucked blood could be seen in the cavity of hookworms, giving the worms a red colour. White-coloured hookworms who had not yet sucked blood were seen lying quiet in the small bowel. After treatment, the child recovered and his haemoglobin increased to 11 gm/dl,” said Dr. Arora.

In view of the boy’s obscure (unknown origin) gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB), doctors conducted Capsule Endoscopy, a procedure where a tiny wireless camera takes pictures of your digestive tract. A capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a vitamin-size capsule which is swallowed.

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