SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferences

Information for Patients

View all Images (10)

Pinworm infection in Child
See also in: Anogenital
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Pinworm infection in Child

See also in: Anogenital
Contributors: Mary Spencer MD, Ann Lenane MD, Sireesha Reddy MD, Amy Swerdlin MD, Manasi Kadam Ladrigan MD, Carol Berkowitz MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Pinworm infection is caused by Enterobius vermicularis, a nematode that affects people of all ages and socioeconomic classes. Humans are the only known host. It is the most prevalent nematode in the United States, and it affects more than 30% of children worldwide. People in crowded living conditions and children are at higher risk for infection. Significant risk factors in developing nations include playing on the floor, nail biting, and not washing hands before eating.

The adult worms live in the host's cecum. From there they migrate to the perineum at night to lay up to 15 000 eggs at one time, which can be viable for up to 2-3 days. The eggs can be spread by their presence on the host's hands, in the bedsheets, or in dust, thus infecting the entire family. Ingested eggs are hatched in the duodenum and migrate to the large intestine, restarting the cycle.


B80 – Enterobiasis

360419005 – Infection by Enterobius vermicularis

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Updated:07/14/2019
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Patient Information for Pinworm infection in Child
Print E-Mail Images (10)
Contributors: Medical staff writer


Pinworm infection is the most common worm infection in the United States. It also affects 30% of children worldwide.

The swallowing or breathing of pinworm eggs causes the infection.

The worms colonize the intestines of humans. While the infected person is asleep, the female pinworm lays eggs in the skin around the anus. The eggs spread to bedding, the host's hands, and even in dust, infecting everyone in the household.

Who’s At Risk

Throughout the world, children, child caregivers, and people in crowded living conditions or institutions are at the highest risk of contracting pinworm infection.

High risk factors in developing nations include playing on the floor, nail biting, and not washing hands before eating.

Signs & Symptoms

Pinworms sometimes have no symptoms. If symptoms are present, they include itching of the vaginal or anal area, often during the night. Pinworms can also cause abdominal pain and nausea.

Self-Care Guidelines

Measures can be taken to manage symptoms:
  • Wash the anal area in the morning to reduce the amount of pinworm eggs on your body.
  • Avoid scratching the anal area to prevent the spread of eggs.
  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • Wash clothes in hot water to kill pinworm eggs.
  • Change underwear and bed linens daily.

When to Seek Medical Care

Seek medical care if you have anal itching at night that prevents you from sleeping, or if you believe that you may have caught pinworm infection from someone diagnosed with it.


Without treatment, the infection can last 4-6 weeks. Your health care provider may recommend oral anti-parasite medication such as mebendazole. All members of the same household should receive treatment.
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Pinworm infection in Child
See also in: Anogenital
A medical illustration showing key findings of Pinworm infection (Female symptoms) : Sleep disturbance, Vaginal-labial itching, Anal pruritus, EOS increased
Organism image of Pinworm infection - imageId=1925770. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A close-up of adult pinworms.'
A close-up of adult pinworms.
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.