Pinworms, scientifically known as Enterobius vermicularis, can infect humans and animals, and while the symptoms are troublesome, the nematodes rarely cause death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As one of the most common parasitic infections in the United States, it is easily treatable.
Pinworm infections are most common in school-aged children. Spread via different methods including fecal-orally and by becoming airborne and ingested, pinworms are highly contagious. They can also live on objects for up to three weeks.
The main symptom of pinworms is an itchy anus. The CDC states that due to the mild symptoms of pinworms, some people do not experience any symptoms. They may also contribute the symptom to another cause. Diagnosis is fairly simple, however, as the pinworms are detectable by performing a tape test. The tape is pressed down near the anus in order to collect the eggs, which are then identified under a microscope.
Treatment is a simple process with the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications. The most severe complication of pinworm infections is weight loss.