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Enterobius vermicularis (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Threadworm often does not give any discomfort beyond an itching near the rectum. The threadworms looks like 1-2 cm long with “sewing threads”. You should treat the whole family.

Most families with young children have experienced threadworms. The worms lives in the rectum and moves down to the opening of the rectum to lay their eggs.

Threadworm may concern you but it is a relatively harmless disease. Normally, threadworms does not give any discomfort – apart from the thought of having worms in the intestine.

The disease is most common with children, but can also appear amongst adults. It has often spread to the whole family, when discovered.

The only complaint regarding threadworm is an itching around the rectum but most children and adults do not feel any discomfort. The parents or the child often discovers the disease when they see the worms. The worms are 1-2 cm long and white – they look like small pieces of white sewing thread. You see the worms around the rectum or in the stools.

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The disease is contagious from human to human via the eggs. The eggs are very resistant and can survive until 2 weeks in dust and bed linen. A home overflows quickly with eggs – especially in the bedroom. If a child have threadworms, it is likely that the whole family is infected, even though they cannot find threadworms in their stools. Therefore, you should treat the whole family with medication.


You can treat threadworms with a medical product. You can get a prescription from your GP. Since probably the whole family is infected, you should treat everyone in the household.

What can you do?

Infected people should shower in the morning in order to remove, as many eggs as possible from the rectum. To remove the eggs, you should change your linen and underwear often. You should cut the child’s nails short, so that the eggs cannot stay.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If you find 1-2 cm white “sewing threads” that are moving around the rectum or in the stools.

Contact the doctor immediately

Never necessary.