Oesophagostomum is a genus of parasitic nematodes (roundworms) of the family Strongylidae. These worms occur in Africa, Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The majority of human infection with Oesophagostomum is localized to northern Togo and Ghana. Because the eggs may be indistinguishable from those of the hookworms (which are widely distributed and can also rarely cause helminthomas), the species causing human helminthomas are rarely identified with accuracy. Oesophagostomum, especially O. bifurcum, are common parasites of livestock and animals like goats, pigs and non-human primates, although it seems that humans are increasingly becoming favorable hosts as well. The disease they cause, oesophagostomiasis, is known for the nodule formation it causes in the intestines of its infected hosts, which can lead to more serious problems such as dysentery. Although the routes of human infection have yet to be elucidated sufficiently, it is believed that transmission occurs through oral-fecal means, with infected humans unknowingly ingesting soil containing the infectious filariform larvae.
Oesophagostomum infection is largely localized to northern Togo and Ghana in western Africa where it is a serious public health problem. Because it is so localized, research on intervention measures and the implementation of effective public health interventions have been lacking. In recent years, however, there have been advances in the diagnosis of Oesophagostomum infection with PCR assays and ultrasound and recent interventions involving mass treatment with albendazole shows promise for controlling and possibly eliminating Oesophagostomum infection in northern Togo and Ghana.