Buxton school officials are warning parents of an outbreak of pinworms at an elementary school.

The principal of Buxton Center Elementary School on Wednesday sent a letter to parents notifying them of the outbreak, which is not uncommon in daycare or school settings.

Principal Kim O’Donnell said in the letter that pinworms live in the intestine and adult females leave the intestine at night to lay their eggs on the skin surrounding the anus. Pinworms are about the length of a staple.

Children irritated by the presence of worms tend to scratch their bottoms and, in the process, pick up the eggs onto their hands. When the eggs are transferred to the child’s mouth by touch, they can hatch in the intestine and mature into the adult worms. Eggs can be transferred indirectly as they can get onto bedding and clothes for up to two weeks.

Pinworm infection occurs worldwide and affects people of all ages and socioeconomic levels, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infection occurs most frequently in school-aged and preschool-aged children, in people living in institutional settings and among household members and caretakers of people already infected with pinworm.

O’Donnell encouraged parents of children with symptoms to contact their family physician. Pinworm is typically treated with either prescription or over-the-counter medication, according to the CDC.

The school is disinfecting and cleaning surfaces and staff have been reminded to practice appropriate precautions, the letter said.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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