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January 13, 1923


JAMA. 1923;80(2):112-113. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640290042016

Until recently the life history of the eelworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, in man was believed to involve no intermediate host, and was usually stated to indicate a comparatively uncomplicated sojourn in the organism. The assumption was that when the developed eggs are swallowed, either in contaminated food or in water, or from hands soiled with dirt containing the eggs, the embryo develops directly to the adult stage.3 The habitat of the parasite in its various stages of development was supposed to be the alimentary tract, although an occasional wandering of the worms was recognized as a dangerous aspect of ascariasis. Stiles,3 in his elaborate review of the subject in 1907, mentioned that the escape of erratic eelworms by the mouth or nose is not very rare, and he regarded this aspect of the infections as particularly indicative of the importance of prophylactic treatment.

Through the more recent investigations of