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Highly magnified histologic section showing hookworm (Ancylostoma sp) attached to the intestine.

High-intensity hookworm infections occur among both school-age children and adults, unlike the soil-transmitted helminths Ascaris and whipworm. High-intensity infections with these worms are less common among adults. The most serious effects of hookworm infection are the development of anemia and protein deficiency caused by blood loss at the site of the intestinal attachment of the adult worms. When children are continuously infected by many worms, the loss of iron and protein can retard growth and mental development.