It’s long been reported that intestinal parasites and the diseases that they cause are rare or otherwise hard to come by. However, this is far from the truth. Unfortunately, these “bugs” (in every sense of the word) can be extremely common, with most of them directly affecting your gastrointestinal tract.
Some of the most common parasites are helminths, a term that refers to worms like tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms. These complex creatures often act fast, causing symptoms to manifest within days or even months.
The other side of the spectrum is protozoa, tiny one-celled organisms that often take a long time to manifest symptoms.
With further research we will begin to unravel just how these microscopic overlords are manipulating our decisions – and their influence on society, culture and politics should not be underestimated.
Parasites have infected humans for millennia, but archaeologists have hypothesized that the frequency of infections increased as humans intensified their agricultural production of crops in the Neolithic period. A new analysis of coprolites from the site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey has contributed evidence towards confirming that hypothesis.
“Over the last half a century, parasitologists have been enamored with the idea that some parasites can alter their host’s behavior to serve their own interests,” says Julia Buck, an ecologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara. There are wasps that walk cockroaches, worms that turn crickets suicidal, fungi that zombify ants, and more. “This study demonstrates another way that parasites can alter host behavior: without infecting their hosts.”
There isn’t really a chemical that makes water turn a darker color when someone urinates in a pool, but two new reports on the health risks of pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds might make you wish there were.
We tend to think of species that live inside hosts as disease-causing enemies. That may be true — but only up to a point. Medical studies have shown that humans have evolved an intimate, perhaps even necessary, relationship with many of these lodgers.
Millions of American children have been exposed to a parasite that could interfere with their breathing, liver function, eyesight and even intelligence. Yet few scientists have studied the infection in the United States, and most doctors are unaware of it.
Seventeen volunteers in the Netherlands have agreed to host parasitic worms in their bodies for 12 weeks in order to help advance research toward a vaccine for schistosomiasis, a chronic disease that afflicts more than 200 million people a year, killing thousands, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
When someone offers you the opportunity to swim in "crypto," make sure you find out specifically what is meant by "crypto." Swimming in cryptocurrency could be good. Swimming in Cryptosporidium would not be good.
Parasites are little-understood, and they are everywhere. An ecologist explains why we need to learn more about them.
It takes a hookworm four to six weeks to travel through the human body and reach the gut, where it latches onto the small intestine and sucks blood to sustain itself. That doesn't just sound gross; it also sounds like a situation that would outrage the immune system into action. But if you take an endoscope and film these worms once they are ensconced in a human gut, says Alex Loukas, a molecular parasitologist at James Cook University, the area appears healthy rather than inflamed.
Many people think parasites may be acquired only in developing and third-world countries or as a parting gift on an exotic vacation. However, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds these buggers are very much alive in the U.S.
Viruses, fungi, protozoans, wasps, tapeworms and a vast number of other parasites can control the brains of their hosts and get them to do their bidding. But only recently have scientists started to work out the sophisticated biochemistry that the parasites use.
Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia?
So intense that it warrants anxiety meds.
There are two general groups of parasites. The first consists of worms -- tapeworms and roundworms -- which attach themselves to the lining of the small intestine, causing internal bleeding and loss of nutrients. People infested with worms may have no symptoms or may slowly become anemic.
The second category is the protozoa, one-celled organisms like Giardia...
Very few people have even heard of Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, or trichomoniasis.
Parasites aren't limited to travelers and exotic-food fans: Approximately 1 out of 3 Americans is infected with an intestinal parasite at any given time. Most of the time, your body's immune system helps to keep parasites in check or clear them from the body so they don't cause any symptoms. Sometimes, though, those pesky digestive complaints could be a sign that the parasites are getting the better of you.
Of course, bacteria, yeast, and mold aren’t all bad. Many are actually quite good for us. Not so for the other microbial gifts that sandboxes sometimes leave for kids: parasitic worms.
As soon as your doctor says you've got parasites in your body, you don't need to hear any more details. They're all horrible, right? How can it get worse than little tiny worms or something feeding on your insides?
Actually, it can get way, way worse. As it turns out, there's nothing in nature more creative than a parasite. And we don't mean that in a good way.
Coinciding with the publication of a series of articles in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH), the new CDC initiative will prioritize five major parasitic diseases -- Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis and trichomoniasis -- which are considered neglected because they mainly impact Americans who live in extreme poverty, especially in the southern United States and in degraded urban areas of major U.S. cities.
From horrifying foot-binding practices in Imperial China to life-threatening surgeries in modernity, humanity has been finding harmful ways to modify the body since the dawn of civilization. The Victorians were no exception to this.
If you think intestinal parasites only lead to gut disturbances such as upset stomach and diarrhea, think again. Because problems that happen in your stomach don't stay in your stomach.
Tapeworm cysts in the brain have become a major public-health problem in India and other developing countries.
Their presence can cause epilepsy and other debilitating problems including, in extreme cases, dementia.
The infection is more easily acquired than one might think, and both rich and poor are susceptible.
Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis) is a painful infection, and it's been around for thousands of years. Once the parasite enters the body it begins to grow, sometimes reaching an entire meter long. From afar, it looks as though it could be a long, thin cord. Removing a Guinea worm has traditionally involved pulling it out of an opening in the skin over several weeks and spooling the parasite around a stick as though it were a string. It’s a tedious process that can result in a secondary infection at the site of the wound.
It’s fair to say parasites are generally bad for their hosts. Many cause disease and death so, like most species, we humans usually try to avoid infection at all costs. But it turns out that some parasites, although potentially harmful in isolation, can in fact help hosts to cope with more deadly infections.
Having a parasite can be a scary thought, but you're not alone; parasites are far more common than you think. It’s a myth that parasites only exist in underdeveloped countries. In fact, the majority of the patients I see in my clinic have a parasite. As you will see, parasites can causing a myriad of symptoms, only a few of which are actually digestive in nature.
They just want a nice home! And to destroy you.
The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. In celebration of the enormous diversity of parasites and to highlight their importance, we created this blog, which showcased a species of parasite every day. Now that 2010 is over, we will continue to add more parasites from time to time, and write about any newly published research on parasite species that we have posted about yet.
Parasites are fascinating. They are uniquely adapted to survive, in some cases through very complex life cycles. There’s also research to suggest that some may even change the behaviour of hosts to assist them in their quest to reproduce. But you wouldn’t want to get one. Here are six of the most gruesome.
This Week in Parasitism (TWiP) is a podcast about eukaryotic parasites started by Vincent Racaniello and Dick Despommier...The TWiP trio strives for an informal yet informative conversation about parasites which is accessible to everyone, no matter what their science background.
If you suspect parasites, but tests run by your doctor have returned negative, then request PCR testing. Many laboratories in the UK would not be able to exclude D. fragilis and B. hominis, therefore it is possible that some patients infected with these parasites could be misdiagnosed as having IBS. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many patients infected with these parasites are indeed being misdiagnosed as having IBS.
A parasitologist's view of the world.
The Global Mammal Parasite Database is a compilation of records of parasites and their hosts that have been documented in the published scientific literature. As the quote above suggests, mammals are an extremely well-studied group of animals, and there are thousands of published reports and scientific studies describing their parasites and the abundance of parasites in wild populations.
PARA-SITE was designed to provide basic information about parasites causing disease in animals and people. It covers information on: parasite morphology (fundamental to taxonomy); host range (species specificity); site of infection (tissue/organ tropism); parasite pathogenicity (disease potential); modes of transmission (spread of infections); differential diagnosis (detection of infections); and treatment and control (cure and prevention).
Why is it “parasite” ecology and not “disease” ecology?
The honest answer is that when I was picking a title for this blog, I found several existing blogs that were named Disease Ecology. I thought for a while about cool alternative names. Rejected ideas included “Parasites FTW,” “If You Don’t Read this Blog, You’ll Get Parasitized,” “The Cutest, Fluffiest Organisms on Earth,” and “Mmmm, Parasites.” However, I decided to keep it simple, and go with Parasite Ecology. And as it turns out, that’s an accurate title for the kinds of things I blog about.
Parasites & Vectors is an open access, peer-reviewed online journal dealing with the biology of parasites, parasitic diseases, intermediate hosts, vectors and vector-borne pathogens.
This website is all about parasitic infections caused by worms, microscopic protozoa and skin parasites. The worms category is divided into roundworms, flukes and tapeworms. You can find the parasites on the right navigational menu.
The content of the Pets and Parasites web site was developed, reviewed, and endorsed by CAPC. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is an independent council of veterinarians, veterinary parasitologists, and other animal health care professionals established to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. It brings together broad expertise in parasitology, internal medicine, public health, veterinary law, private practice, and association leadership.
Dedicated to the Memory of Peter Boreham.
This Week in Parasitism (TWiP) is a podcast about eukaryotic parasites started by Vincent Racaniello and Dick Despommier. Daniel Griffin, MD joined the team in January 2015 and added not only his expertise in infectious diseases, but began a new feature of TWiP, the case study.
The mission of the CAPC is to foster animal and human health, while preserving the human-animal bond, by generating and disseminating credible, accurate and timely information for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of parasitic infections.
MonarchHealth is a project in which volunteers sample wild monarch butterflies to help track the spread of a protozoan parasite across North America.
Our mission is to achieve a broader understanding of host-parasite interactions in monarch butterflies and to enhance awareness of monarch biology and conservation through the coupling of citizens and scientists.
Parasites can cause disease in humans. Some parasitic diseases are easily treated and some are not. The burden of these diseases often rests on communities in the tropics and subtropics, but parasitic infections also affect people in developed countries.
Parasites range in size from tiny, one-celled organisms called protozoa to worms that can be seen with the naked eye. Some parasitic diseases occur in the United States. Contaminated water supplies can lead to Giardia infections. Cats can transmit toxoplasmosis, which is dangerous for pregnant women. Others, like malaria, are common in other parts of the world.
Parasites news, articles and information.
What's gotten into you? In this hour, Radiolab uncovers a world full of parasites.
Could parasites be the shadowy hands that pull the strings of life? We explore nature's moochers, with tales of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe). And we examine claims that some parasites may actually be good for you.
Pests and Parasites News.
Information on how to select and handle seafood products to avoid foodborne illness is provided.
All living organisms, including fish, can have parasites. Parasites are a natural occurrence, not contamination. They are as common in fish as insects are in fruits and vegetables. Parasites do not present a health concern in thoroughly cooked fish.