Human Parasitic Worms & Organisms.
Our Top 10 Nasties.

Human parasitic worms and organisms can strike in the most unexpected places... while you and your family are in some exotic location on vacation, while playing with your pets, while camping or going for a swim in a creek or lake, while walking barefoot, occasionally if you are unlucky enough to come in contact with an infected person, or if you eat exotic or undercooked foods.

Around 2 billion people are infected with parasites world-wide which is a problem since overseas travel is now more affordable and accessible than ever.

Of more concern, parasites are also evolving and developing resistance to the antibiotics and drugs we use to fight and eliminate them.

A list of human parasitic diseases as compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Alphabetical Index of Parasite Diseases in Humans.

Human Parasitic Worms & Organisms.

1. Malaria:

... thought to infect around 300-500 million people world-wide and kill up to 2 million people each year.

Uploaded by AnimalPlanetTV on Jul 31, 2009
A honeymoon in Africa turns into a nightmare for a New York woman after she is infected with the deadliest parasite on the planet... Malaria.

2. Giardia:

Giardiasis infects up to 33% of people in developing countries and causes many of the the world's 1.8 million diarrheal deaths each year (mostly the very young... almost 4,000 children die every day). It is caused by a microscopic parasite in faeces-contaminated water, soil, or food. Travellers to countries where it is endemic are also at risk, as are campers drinking untreated water from lakes or rivers, and those engaging in oral-anal contact during sex (ref: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

3. Tse Tse Fly:

Also called the "Sleeping Sickness"... found mainly in Africa... is fatal if left untreated and kills up to 300,000 each year (ref: Wikipedia).

Uploaded by AnimalPlanetTV on Jul 27, 2009
A brutal killer invades a traveler's blood... carried by a Tse Tse Fly.

4. Amoebic Dysentery:

Infects up to 50 million people and causes up to 100,000 deaths each year globally. The disease causes severe diarrhoea, stomach pains, chills, fever, headaches, and may lead to liver abscesses, bowel perforation and death.

5. Hookworm:

Hookworm infects up to 740 million people each year mainly in tropical developing countries in Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia, and China.
An intestinal parasite that can grow 1 cm long and 4mm wide, it usually enters through the skin. It can be picked up by walking bare-foot on faeces-contaminated soil, or be swallowed/ingested from infected dogs, or crops fertilised with sewage. Dozens of worms hook on to intestine walls where they suck blood and interfere with food absorption.

6. Bilharzia:

... a flat worm that infects over 200 million people across 74 countries causing 20,000 deaths per year... it inhabits the veins of pelvic organs and is caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water supplies & waterways.

Uploaded by AfricaCreativeHub on Nov 30, 2011
On the 10th of November the Neglected Tropical Diseases unit of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation launched the Master Plan on tackling Trachoma, Intestinal worms, Bilharzia, Hydatid disease, Elephantiasis and Kala-azar in Kenya, Africa.

7. Schistosomiasis:

... this "trematode" parasite infects up to 120 million people a year, 20 million seriously and is carried by fresh-water snails.

8. Guinea Worm:

Is a thread-like worm up to 1 metre long that lives under the skin and causes severe pain and debilitation when mature human parasitic worms break out through the skin (often around the feet). It is caused by inadequate sanitation and contaminated drinking water, and is mainly found in Africa.

Uploaded by CarterCenter on Jun 16, 2007
Set up by former US President Jimmy Carter The Carter Center began leading the campaign to eradicate Guinea worm in 1986. There were an estimated 3.5 million cases of these human parasitic worms in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, less than a fraction of one percent of Guinea worm cases remain in a handful of endemic countries: Sudan, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, Niger, and Nigeria.

Thread-like worms up to 3 feet long cause agonisingly painful & debilitating blisters on the feet... removing them is a slow, painful process often taking weeks where the worms are pulled out inch by painful inch.

9. Cryptosporidiosis:

This dangerous parasite, a protozoan, that infects the intestines causing diarrhoea can prove fatal in health-compromised patients like AIDS sufferers and the elderly. In 1993 an outbreak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA infected more than 400,000 people and caused over 104 deaths.

Uploaded by AnimalPlanetTV on Jun 23, 2009
Deadly Parasites Invade City's Water System... in 1993 an outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis occurred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA which infected more than 400,000 people and caused over 104 deaths.

10. Trichinosis:

Is caused by eating under-cooked or raw wild game or pork which is infected with the larvae of roundworm Trichinella spiralis. Different species of this parasite can be found in wild pigs, bears, foxes, horses, crocodiles, walrus, and lion meat... the parasites invades muscle tissue including the heart, diaphragm, and can reach the brain and lungs.

Uploaded by AnimalPlanetTV on Aug 12, 2010
A woman contracts a parasite, Trichinella spiralis, after eating infected meat.

Uploaded by AnimalPlanetTV on Aug 12, 2010
After eating raw sushi, a woman fights for her life... Anisakis roundworm.

Symptoms of Human Parasitic Worms...

... are sometimes vague and may include fever, general malaise, diarrhoea, vomiting, aching muscles and joints, fatigue, abdominal pain, worms present in stools or vomit, anaemia, allergies, weight loss, increased appetite, bowel obstruction, nervousness, listless sleep, dehydration and itching around anal or vaginal areas (with some worm infestations).

Symptoms of human parasitic worms may sometimes be confused with food poisoning.

How Human Parasitic Worms Invade Our Bodies:

  • Attaching to our skin (ticks, head lice, scabies).

  • Being swallowed (Hydatid cyst disease, intestinal worms, Giardia).

  • From insect bites (Malaria).

  • Burrowing through our skin (dog hookworm).

You are more likely to encounter human parasitic worms in under-developed countries where the following factors might exist:

  • poverty,

  • poor sanitation,

  • contaminated drinking water,

  • inadequate hygiene,

  • unhygienic food preparation practices,

  • inadequate medical care,

  • lack of control of disease carriers like mosquitoes,

  • lack of awareness of health hazards,

  • where human waste is used as fertiliser on food crops.

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