|When people refer to worms, they are usually talking about threadworms (Enterobius vermicularis), also known as pinworm. Threadworms get their name because they look like small pieces of white thread. The mature female worm can be about 10mm in length, while the mature male worm is about half this length. The worms live in the intestines as parasites, absorbing their nourishment from the person who carries them. Threadworms are not usually harmful, but they are very irritating and cause itching around the anus, particularly at night which can disturb sleep.
Threadworms are the most common type of worm infestation in the UK, estimated to affect about 20 out of every 100 people in the general community, and as many as 65 out of every 100 people living in close communities such as boarding schools and nursing homes. Adults and children can have worms, but they are more common in children. Although often a cause of embarrassment, worms are a common complaint and can affect anyone of any social status