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Parasites

Category: Illnesses and disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

A parasite is an organism that has sustained contact with another organism to the detriment of the host organism.  For the purposes of this site I have excluded bacteria which have their own entry and viruses which also have their own entry. 

Furthermore all mites have been given their own entry, even though they are parasites.  There are an estimated 0.5-1 million mite species on earth and despite their miniscule size tey are major carriers of disease.

Thus,  what we have left in this section is the other microrganisms - amoeba and protozoans for example. Some parasites like Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium spp. can cause disease directly, but other organisms can cause disease by the toxins that they produce.

We have been very poor at linking diseases with parasites - in other words in understanding the link between certain parasites and illnesses.  It is quite possible that a number of other diseases besides those listed below, whose root cause remains obscure, are caused by parasites.  I have my suspicions, for example, about some heart disease. 

On this site I have provided some descriptions for some very specific parasites, but note that this list is not exhaustive from a medical point of view.  The list only includes those which have caused spiritual experiences: 

 

 -Acanthamoeba – are a type of amoeba, which can cause keratitis  -  in which amoebae invade the cornea of the eye. It may result in permanent visual impairment or blindness. It can be associated with contact lens use, as Acanthamoeba can survive in the space between the lens and the eye, however, many cases of Acanthamoeba present in non-contact lens wearers.

 

Hookworms

- Ancylostoma hookworms - Ancylostomiasis (also anchylostomiasis or ankylostomiasis) is the condition of infection by Ancylostoma hookworms. The name is derived from Greek ancylos αγκυλος "crooked, bent" and stoma στομα "mouth." Ancylostomiasis is also known as miner's anaemia, tunnel disease, brickmaker's anaemia and Egyptian chlorosis. Helminthiasis may also refer to ancylostomiasis, but this term also refers to all other parasitic worm diseases as well. Ancylostomiasis is caused when hookworms, present in large numbers, produce an iron deficiency anemia by sucking blood from the host's intestinal walls.

 

 

- Ascaris lumbricoides - Ascariasis is a disease caused by the parasitic roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides. Perhaps as many as one quarter of the world's population are infected, with a prevalence of 45% in Latin America and 95% in parts of Africa. As larval stages travel through the body, they may cause visceral damage, peritonitis and inflammation, enlargement of the liver or spleen, and a 'verminous pneumonitis'. The worms in the intestine may cause malabsorption and anorexia which contribute to malnutrition. The worms can occasionally cause intestinal blockage. Sometimes the worm goes into the main pancreatic duct resulting in acute pancreatitis. Occasionally they can travel through the Billiary tree and even into the gallbladder causing Acute Cholangitis or Acute Cholecystitis. Ascariasis may result in allergies to shrimp and dustmites due to the shared antigen, tropomyosin. Ascaris have an aversion to some general anaesthetics and may exit the body, sometimes through the mouth.

 

 

 - Babesia – is a genus of protozoal piroplasms. They cause Babesiosis, a malaria-like disease.  Human babesiosis is common in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, and sporadic throughout the rest of the world. Ticks transmit the human form of Babesiosis, so it often presents with other tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease. After trypanosomes, Babesia is thought to be the second most common blood parasite of mammals, and they can have a major impact on health of domestic animals in areas without severe winters. Half of all children and a quarter of previously healthy adults are asymptomatic with Babesia infection. People with symptoms usually become ill 1 to 4 weeks after the bite, or 1 to 9 weeks after transfusion of contaminated blood products. A person infected with babesiosis will gradually develop malaise and fatigue, followed by a fever. Hemolytic anemia, in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed, also develops. Chills, sweats, and thrombocytopenia (a low number of platelets in the blood) are also common symptoms.

cyst of Balantidium coli with cyst wall and
prominent macronucleus

Balantidium coli  - is a protozoan that causes Balantidiasis.  Currently, Balantidium coli is distributed worldwide with ‘less than 1% of the human population infected’.  Balantidium is the only ciliated protozoan known to infect humans. Balantidiasis is acquired by humans via the feco-oral route or anal intercourse.  The most common source in the former is the pig, where it is asymptomatic. Infection of humans occurs more frequently in areas where pigs comingle with people.  But pigs are not the only animal where the parasite is found. In one Japanese study, Balantidium coli was found to be present in all the wild boars tested and in the  Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), White-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar), Squirrelmonkey (Saimiri sciurea), Sacred baboon (Comopithecus hamadryas), and Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata). In other studies, Balantidium coli was also found in species from the orders Rodentia and Carnivora.  Contaminated water is the most common mechanism of transmission.  Symptoms can be local due to involvement of the intestinal mucosa, or systemic.  More general illness is caused by cysts forming in tissues and compromising their activity.

 

Baylisascaris procyonis - sometimes called Raccoon roundworm is a roundworm nematode, found ubiquitously in raccoons, its larvae migrating in the intermediate hosts causing visceral larva migrans (VLM). Baylisascariasis as the zoonotic infection of humans is rare, though extremely dangerous due to the ability of the parasite's larvae to migrate into brain tissue and cause damage. Concern for human infection has been increasing over the years due to urbanization of rural areas resulting in the increase in proximity and potential human interaction with raccoons.  In North America, B. procyonis infection rates in raccoons are very high, being found in around 70% of adult raccoons and 90% of juvenile raccoons. Transmission occurs similarly to other roundworm species, through the fecal-oral route. When an infected egg is ingested, the larvae hatch and enter the intestine. Transmission of B. procyonis may also occur through the ingestion of larvae found in infected tissue

 

 

 - Blastocystis - have a high prevalence in industrialized countries and infect the bowel, causing IBS like symptoms. Blastocystis is a single-cell organism that has been reported to produce symptoms of abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea in patients. 

Researchers have noted that clinical diagnostics fail to identify infection, and Blastocystis may not respond to treatment with common antiprotozoals.


 

- Chlamydia pneumoniae - The chlamydiae are obligate intracellular parasites that are ubiquitous, with serological studies showing that most humans are infected at some stage in their lifetime. While most human infections are asymptomatic, C. pneumoniae can cause severe respiratory disease and pneumonia and has been linked to chronic diseases such as asthma, atherosclerosis and even Alzheimer's. ... It is emerging that C. pneumoniae's ability to survive inside its target cells, including evasion of the host's immune attack mechanisms, is linked to the acquisition of the key metabolites Tryptophan and arginine. When C. pneumoniae senses host immune attack, it responds by rapidly reverting to a 'persistent' phase. During persistence, they reduce their metabolic levels, halting progression of their developmental cycle, waiting until the hostile external conditions have passed before they re-emerge. [source PMID: 24682324].

 

Clonorchis sinensis - the Chinese liver fluke, causes Clonorchiasis, an infectious disease and a known risk factor for the development of cholangiocarcinoma, a neoplasm of the biliary system. 

One becomes infected by eating undercooked, smoked, pickled salted freshwater fish. 

Clonorchiasis sinensis is a trematode (fluke) that requires two intermediate hosts. The parasitic worm is as long as 10 to 25mm and lives in the bile ducts of the liver. The eggs of the worms are passed through fecal matter which are then ingested by mollusks. Freshwater fish are a second intermediate host for the parasitic worm. They become infected when the larvae (cercaria) of the worm penetrates the flesh of the fish.

Clonorchiasis is endemic in the Far East, especially in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Southern China, but has been reported in non endemic areas. In such cases, the infection follows the ingestion of imported, undercooked or pickled freshwater fish containing metacercariae

 

 

 - Cochliomyia  - are more commonly known as blowflies. There are four species in this genus: Cochliomyia macellaria, Cochliomyia hominivorax, Cochliomyia aldrichi, and Cochliomyia minima

Their larvae produce myiasis – an infestation of maggots.  Females usually lay their eggs on the edge of an open wound, however, the nasal, oral, or anal areas of a host are also vulnerable. Navels of newborns also can be the sites of infestation.  Although flies are most commonly attracted to open wounds, some species (including the most common myiatic flies, the botfly, blowfly and screwfly) can create an infestation even on unbroken skin and have even been known to use moist soil and non-myiatic flies (such as the common housefly) as vector agents for their parasitic larvae.

Cutaneous myiasis in the neck of a human

Cochliomyia macellaria larvae feed only on necrotic tissue, the other species feed on living tissue. Once the infestation commences, a dark brown or reddish-brown discharge will begin leaking from the wound, sometimes accompanied by an unpleasant smell as the flesh begins to become necrotic. As the infestation increases, the victim will begin to experience escalating tissue irritation, and may be observed to become ‘withdrawn, listless, and anorexic’.

 

The Cochliomyia hominivorax larvae will dive head-first into whatever food source is nearest, and burrow deeper, eating into live flesh if available. This results in a pocket-like lesion that causes severe pain to the host. After 5 to 7 days, the larvae will drop and move away from the food source to pupate.  The largest documented infestation of hominivorax myiasis outside of the North American continent was found in sheep rather than people, located in Northern Africa in the year 1989. The myiasis spread rapidly infecting numerous herds in the territory during the following months. From July 1989 to April 1991 there were more than 14,111 documented cases of large-scale myiasis.

 

- Cryptosporidium - is a protozoan parasite in the phylum Apicomplexa.  It causes Cryptosporidiosis, which affects the intestines and is typically an acute short-term infection. It is spread through the faecal-oral route, often through contaminated water; the main symptom is self-limiting diarrhoea in people with intact immune systems. In immunocompromised individuals, such as AIDS patients, the symptoms are particularly severe and often fatal.

 

 - Demodex folliculorum - researchers have isolated the bacteria Bacillus oleronius, carried by the Demodex folliculorum mite as the root cause of Acne [Ref  PMID:  24248990].  See also the science section Skin mites.

 

 

 - Dientamoeba fragilis is a single-cell organism that also produces IBS symptoms - abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Studies have reported a high incidence of infection in developed countries. One study reported on a large group of patients with IBS-like symptoms who were found to be infected with Dientamoeba fragilis, and experienced resolution of symptoms following treatment.

Researchers have noted that methods used clinically may fail to detect some Dientamoeba fragilis infections.

 

Diphyllobothrium  - is a tapeworm that can cause Diphyllobothriasis.  It is caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked freshwater fish. Adequate cooking or freezing of freshwater fish kills the encysted fish tapeworm larvae.   The tapeworm and illness can be found in Europe, newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, North America, Asia, Uganda, Peru (because of Ceviche), and Chile. It is particularly common in Japan, because of Sushi or Sashimi.
Differential symptoms of parasite infection by raw fish: Clonorchis sinensis (a trematode/fluke), Anisakis (a nematode/roundworm) and Diphyllobothrium a (cestode/tapeworm), all have gastrointestinal, but otherwise distinct, symptoms.   Diphyllobothriasis can last for decades if untreated. Most infections are asymptomatic. Manifestations may include abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss. Vitamin B12 deficiency with subsequent megaloblastic anaemia may occur. In one test, nearly half of the ingested vitamin was absorbed by D. latum in otherwise healthy patients, while 80-100% was absorbed by the worm in patients with anaemia. Massive infections may result in intestinal obstruction. Migration of proglottids can cause infection of the bile duct and gall bladder.

 

 - Echinococcus - Echinococcosis, is a parasitic disease of tapeworms in the genus Echinococcus. In the human manifestation of the disease, E. granulosus, E. multilocularis, E. oligarthus and E. vogeliare migrate to the liver (in 75% of cases), the lungs (in 5-15% of cases) and other organs in the body such as the spleen, brain, heart and kidneys (in 10-20% of cases). In the patients who are infected with E. granulosus, the disease develops as a slow-growing mass in the body – cysts.  These can cause brain damage, brain tumour, jaundice, shock, hypoxia, fever and hyperthermia and so on.

 

 - Entamoeba histolytica - is the cause of  Amoebiasis, or Amebiasis, which is a gastrointestinal disorder.

 

in the colon

 - Enterobius vermicularis - is commonly called the human pinworm.  A pinworm infection or enterobiasis is one of the most common parasitic worm infections in the developed world.  Infection usually occurs through the ingestion of pinworm eggs, either through contaminated hands, food, or less commonly, water.  The incubation time from ingestion of eggs to the first appearance of new eggs around the anus is 4 to 6 weeks. The entire lifecycle of the parasite takes place in the human gastrointestinal tract of a single human host.
One third of individuals with pinworm infection are totally asymptomatic.  The main symptoms are pruritus ani and perineal pruritus, i.e., itching in and around the anus and around the perineum. The itching occurs mainly during the night, and is caused by the female pinworms migrating to lay eggs around the anus.  Both the migrating females and the clumps of eggs are irritating, but the mechanisms causing the intense pruritus have not been explained. 

 

The itching leads to continuously scratching the area around the anus, which can further result in tearing of the skin and complications such as secondary bacterial infections.  General symptoms are insomnia and restlessness. A considerable proportion of children suffer from loss of appetite, weight loss, irritability, emotional instability, and enuresis (i.e., inability to control urination).
Pinworms in women may move onto the vulva and into the vagina, from there moving to external orifice of the uterus, and onwards to the uterine cavity, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and peritoneal cavity. This can cause vulvovaginitis, i.e. an inflammation of the vulva and vagina. This causes vaginal discharge and pruritus vulvae, i.e., itchiness of the vulva. The pinworms can also enter the urethra, and a statistically significant correlation between pinworm infection and urinary tract infections has been shown. Dysuria (i.e., painful urination) has been associated with pinworm infection.  The relationship between pinworm infestation and appendicitis has been researched, but there is a lack of clear consensus in the matter.

 

 

Fasciola [Liver fluke] - Fasciolosis is caused by two trematodes Fasciola hepatica (the common liver fluke) and Fasciola gigantica.  Adult flukes of both species are localized in the bile ducts of the liver or gallbladder and over time do a great deal of damage eventually killing the host.  In Europe, the Americas and Oceania only F. hepatica is a concern.  F. hepatica measures 2 to 3 cm. F. gigantica measures 4 to 10 cm in length and is found in the tropics in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and south and eastern Asia.  The definitive host range is very broad and includes many herbivorous mammals. Sheep are commonly infected and frequently die from infection.  Cattle, horses and goats are also hosts and die too.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 2.4 million people are infected with Fasciola, and a further 180 million are at risk of infection. For more details, follow the link.

 

 

 - Fasciolopsis buski  - is the largest intestinal fluke affecting humans (up to 7.5 cm in length).  It causes Fasciolopsiasis, whose symptoms can include abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, anemia, ascites, toxemia, allergic responses, sensitization caused by the absorption of the worms' allergenic metabolites (which may eventually cause death), and intestinal obstruction. 

Microscopic identification of eggs, or more rarely of the adult flukes, in the stool or vomitus is the basis of specific diagnosis.

 

The parasite infects an amphibic snail after being released from infected faeces; from this intermediate host, the snails inhabit aquatic plants like water spinach or water caltrops, which may be eaten raw.  Unfiltered, unboiled water may also be a source. 

F. buski is endemic in Asia including China, Taiwan, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India. It has a prevalence of up to 60% in India and mainland China and has an estimated 10 million human infections.

 

 

 - Filarioidea  - are thread-like roundworms that cause Filariasis (or philariasis), a parasitic disease that is spread by blood-feeding black flies and mosquitoes. 

Eight known filarial nematodes use humans as their definitive hosts. These are divided into three groups according to the niche within the body they occupy:

  • Lymphatic filariasis is caused by the worms Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori. These worms occupy the lymphatic system, including the lymph nodes; in chronic cases, these worms lead to the disease elephantiasis.
  • Subcutaneous filariasis is caused by Loa loa (the eye worm), Mansonella streptocerca, and Onchocerca volvulus. These worms occupy the subcutaneous layer of the skin, in the fat layer. L. loa causes Loa loa filariasis, while O. volvulus causes river blindness.
  • Serous cavity filariasis is caused by the worms Mansonella perstans and Mansonella ozzardi, which occupy the serous cavity of the abdomen.

Filariasis is diagnosed through direct observation of microfilariae in the peripheral blood, clinical observations and, in some cases, by finding a circulating antigen in the blood.

 

  - Giardia lamblia - Giardiasis produces IBS like symptoms, it is a diarrheal infection of the small intestine by the single-celled organism Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis occurs worldwide with a prevalence of 20–30% in developing countries. In the U.S., 20,000 cases are reported to the CDC annually, but the true annual incidence is estimated at 2 million people. Giardia has a wide range of mammalian hosts besides humans, thus making it very difficult to eradicate. For people with compromised immune systems, such as elderly or AIDS patients, giardiasis can be deadly.

 

 

 - Gnathostoma [spinigerum, hispidum, binucleatum, doloresi, nipponicum and malaysiae]  - are nematode roundworms that cause Gnathostomiasis.  Humans are not a definitive host for this parasite making infection rare. To be infected, a person must digest the parasite when it has reached its third larvae stage.  Gnathostomiasis is transmitted by the ingestion of raw, insufficiently cooked definitive hosts such as fresh water fish, poultry, frogs or eels, cats, dogs, snakes or birds.  The ingested third stage larva migrates from the gastric wall and its migration results in the symptoms associated with infection - epigastric pain, fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite resulting from migration of larvae through intestinal wall to the abdominal cavity.  Migration in the subcutaneous tissues (under the skin) causes intermittent, migratory, painful, pruritic swelling.  Migration to other tissues (visceral larva migrans), can result in cough, hematuria, ocular (eye) involvement,  meningitis, encephalitis and eosinophilia. Eosinophilic myeloencephalitis may also result from invasion of the central nervous system by the larvae.

 

 

 - Guinea worm - Dracunculiasis, also called guinea worm disease (GWD), is an infection by the guinea worm.  A person becomes infected when they drink water that contains water fleas infected with guinea worm larvae. After ingestion, the copepods die and are digested, thus releasing the stage 3 larvae, which then penetrate the host's stomach or intestinal wall, and then enter into the abdominal cavity and retroperitoneal space. After maturation, which takes approximately three months, mating takes place; the male worm dies after mating and is absorbed.  Approximately one year after mating, the fertilized females migrate in the subcutaneous tissues adjacent to long bones or joints of the extremities.   As the worm moves downwards, usually to the lower leg, through the subcutaneous tissues it leads to intense pain localized to its path of travel. The painful, burning sensation experienced by infected people has led to the disease being called "the fiery serpent".  Symptoms include fever, nausea, and vomiting. Female worms cause allergic reactions during blister formation as they migrate to the skin, causing an intense burning pain. Such allergic reactions produce rashes, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and localized oedema.

using a matchstick to remove the worm

When the blister bursts, allergic reactions subside, but skin ulcers form, through which the worm can protrude. Only when the worm is removed is healing complete. Death of adult worms in joints can lead to arthritis and paralysis in the spinal cord.  The worm may be slowly removed over a few weeks by rolling it over a stick. The ulcers formed by the emerging worm may get infected by bacteria   Pain may continue for months after the worm has been removed.
The worm is about one to two millimeters wide and an adult female is 60 to 100 centimeters long (males are much shorter). Outside of humans the eggs can survive up to three weeks. They must be eaten by water fleas before this. The larva inside water fleas may survive up to four months. Thus the disease must occur each year in humans to stay in an area.
Prevention is by early diagnosis of the disease and then preventing the person from putting the wound in drinking water. When a blister or open sore is submerged in water, the adult female releases hundreds of thousands of stage 1 guinea worm larvae, thereby contaminating the water.  Other efforts include: improving access to clean water and otherwise filtering water if it is not clean. 
In 2013 there were 148 cases of the disease reported. This is down from 3.5 million cases in 1986.  But hopes that it might be eradicated have been dashed by re-emergence in some countries.

 

 

- Hymenolepis nana and diminuta – are two species of tapeworm.  They cause Hymenolepiasis also known as Dwarf tapeworm infection or Rat tapeworm.  Hymenolepis worms live in the intestines of rats and are common in warm climates. Hymenolepis is generally found in the faeces of rats which are consumed by its secondary hosts: beetles. The worms mature in the insect. Humans and other animals become infected when they unintentionally eat material contaminated by insects. In an infected person, it is possible for the worm's entire life-cycle to be completed in the bowel, so infection can persist for years if left untreated. Hymenolepis nana infections are much more common than Hymenolepis diminuta infections in humans because, in addition to being spread by insects, the disease can be spread directly from person to person by eggs in faeces.  The symptoms of hymenolepiasis are traditionally described as abdominal pain, loss of appetite (anorexia), itching around the anus, irritability and diarrhoea.

 

 

Isospora belli  - is a coccidian parasite that causes Isosporiasis, a human intestinal disease.  The parasite infects the epithelial cells of the small intestine, and is the least common of the three intestinal coccidia that infect humans (Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Isospora).  It is found worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical areas. Infection often occurs in immuno-compromised individuals.  Infection causes acute, non-bloody diarrhea with crampy abdominal pain, which can last for weeks and result in malabsorption and weight loss. In immunodepressed patients, and in infants and children, the diarrhoea can be severe. Eosinophilia may be present (differently from other protozoan infections.  Humans and animals can be carriers and infection is via the fecal-oral route.

 

 -  Leishmania -  is a genus of trypanosomatic  protozoa and is the parasite responsible for the disease leishmaniasis.   It is spread through sandflies of the genus Phlebotomus in the Old World, and of the genus Lutzomyia in the New World. At least 93 sandfly species are proven or probable Leishmania vectors worldwide.  Leishmania currently affects 12 million people in 98 countries. There are about 2 million new cases each year. 21 species are known to cause disease in humans.
The symptoms of leishmaniasis are skin sores which erupt weeks to months after the person affected is bitten by sand flies. Other consequences, which can manifest anywhere from a few months to years after infection, include fever, damage to the spleen and liver and anemia.  Leishmaniasis is considered one of the classic causes of a markedly enlarged spleen; the organ, which is not normally felt during examination of the abdomen, may even become larger than the liver in severe cases.

 

 

 - Lice – an infestation of lice is known as Pediculosis. Lice are blood-feeding ectoparasitic insects.  Because of their feeding habits there is now some research being completed on whether they could be the carriers of blood born diseases as well.  Pediculosis may be divided into

  • Pediculosis capitis (Head lice infestation)
  • Pediculosis corporis (Pediculosis vestimenti, Vagabond's disease)
  • Pediculosis pubis (Crabs)

The pubic or crab louse (Pthirus pubis) is a parasitic insect which spends its entire life on human hair and feeds exclusively on blood. Humans are the only known host of this parasite.

 

Ayu or sweetfish being grilled in Japan

 - Metagonimus [yokagawai,  takashii or miyatai ] – is a trematode – a fluke – which causes Metagonimiasis.  The main symptoms are diarrhea, nausea and colicky abdominal pain, lethargy and anorexia, occasionally ‘epigastric distress, neurological deficits and cardiac insufficiency’ also occur. Because symptoms are sometimes mild, infections can often be easily overlooked but diagnosis is important. Flukes attach to the wall of the small intestine,and from there may gain access to the circulation systems. This can then lead to eggs embolizing in the brain, spinal cord, or heart. Granulomas may form around eggs and can cause seizures, neurologic deficits, or cardiac insufficiency.  “An interesting case in Japan found Diabetes Mellitus (DM) to be a sign of chronic infection with intracerebral hemorrhages as the acute sign of aggravation”.
Transmission requires two intermediate hosts, the first of which is snails.  Infection is acquired through the secondary intermediate host, fish, that haven’t been thoroughly cooked. Metacercariae encyst under the scales or in the flesh of fish from fresh or brackish water. Sweetfish (Pecoglossus altevelis) is one of the most common fish species infected, but other include the golden carp (Carassius auratus), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Zacco temminckii, Protimus steindachneri, Acheilognathus lancedata, and Pseudorashora parva.  Reservoirs include fish-eating mammals such as dogs, cats and pigs as well as fish-eating birds. “The many reservoirs have negative implications on the efficacy of prevention and eradication efforts of the disease”.

 

 -  Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale  - cause human hookworm infection which leads to Anaemia and protein malnutrition - see Nutritional deprivation. This infection affects approximately 740 million people in the developing countries.   Chronic hookworm in children leads to impaired physical and intellectual development - Brain damage. Pregnant women affected by a hookworm infection can also develop anaemia which results in negative outcomes both for the mother and the infant.

 

 - Onchocerca volvulus  - Onchocerciasis also known as River blindness and Robles' disease, is a parasitic disease caused by infection by Onchocerca volvulus, a nematode (roundworm). Onchocerciasis is the world's second-leading infectious cause of blindness. Onchocerciasis blinds approximately 1 million individuals worldwide

 

 - Plasmodium - Malaria is caused by the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells.  This parasite is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

 

 

- Sarcoptes scabiei  - is a mite that can cause Scabies, a contagious skin disease. The mite is a tiny, and usually not directly visible, parasite which burrows under the host's skin, which in most people causes an intense itching sensation.  Scabies is one of the three most common skin disorders in children, along with tinea and pyoderma.  As of 2010, it affected approximately 100 million people (1.5% of the world population) and was equally common in both sexes.  The disease is most often transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, with a higher risk with prolonged contact. Initial infections require four to six weeks to become symptomatic. Reinfection, however, may manifest symptoms within as few as 24 hours.

 

 

 - Schistosoma - cause Schistosomiasis or bilharzia.  Schistosomiasis is also known as, snail fever, and Katayama fever.  Schistosomiasis is a chronic illness that can damage internal organs and, in children, impair growth and cognitive development - brain damage and can cause blindness.
It may infect the urinary tract or intestines. Symptoms may also include, in addition to those above, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloody stool, or blood in the urine. In those who have been infected a long time, liver damage, kidney failure, infertility, or bladder cancer may occur. In children it may cause poor growth and learning difficulty.  

children are characterized with a large distended
abdomen due to enlarged liver and spleen

The disease is spread by contact with water that contains the parasites. These parasites are released from freshwater snails that have been infected. The disease is especially common among children in developing countries as they are more likely to play in infected water. Other high risk groups include farmers, fishermen, and people using infected water for their daily chores.

 

 - Strongyloides stercoralis - A variety of parasites can affect the lungs. These parasites typically enter the body through the skin or by being swallowed. Once inside, they travel to the lungs, usually through the blood. There, they can cause pneumonia and other lung diseases, a combination of cellular destruction and immune response causes disruption of oxygen transportation. The other two most common parasites causing pneumonia, besidea Strongyloides, are Toxoplasma gondii and Ascariasis.

 

 

Taenia – is a type of tapeworm which can cause Taeniasis. The worm remains in the intestine until it reaches a length of about 3 feet (1 metre or so). The two most important human pathogens in the genus are Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm) and Taenia saginata (the beef tapeworm). Infection is acquired by eating undercooked beef and pork that contain the fluid-filled cysticercuses of either tapeworm species  (often within the skeletal muscles, liver or lungs of the intermediate host). The adult worms live in the lumen of the intestine, where it causes very few symptoms. It absorbs all its nutrients directly from the host's small intestine, which can leave the patient with depleted strength.  One of the more obvious symptoms is loss of weight. 

 

 - Toxocara canis, cati - Toxocariasis is an illness of humans caused by larvae (immature worms) of either the dog roundworm (Toxocara canis), the cat roundworm (Toxocara cati) or the fox (Toxocara canis).

Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati are perhaps the most ubiquitous gastrointestinal worms (helminths) of domestic dogs and cats and foxes. Toxocariasis is a major cause of blindness and may provoke rheumatic, neurologic, or asthmatic symptoms.  There is a significant correlation between high Toxocara antibody titers and epilepsy in children.  Larvae migration incites inflammation of internal organs and sometimes the central nervous system.  This can lead to pneumonia, bronchospasms, chronic pulmonary inflammation, inflammation of the heart, pleural effusion, respiratory failure, and death.  Follow the link to get more details.

 

 - Toxoplasma gondii - The parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii infects about one-third of the population of developed countries.  It is carried by cats [being with cats].   The life-long presence of dormant stages of this parasite in the brain and muscular tissues of infected humans is usually considered asymptomatic from the clinical point of view but is especially prevalent in those who are Rhesus negative.  But there is a link with a number of mental illneses including schizophrenia.

 

 - Trichinella spiralis – is a species of roundworm, commonly called the trichina worm.  It causes  Trichinosis or trichiniasis, a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game infected with the larvae of the worm. There are eight Trichinella species. Only three Trichinella species are known to cause trichinosis: T. spiralis, T. nativa, and T. britovi
The great majority of trichinosis infections have either minor or no symptoms and no complications.   A large burden of adult worms in the intestines promote symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, dyspepsia, and diarrhea from two to seven days after infection, while small worm burdens generally are asymptomatic. Eosinophilia presents early and increases rapidly.  The severity of symptoms caused by larval migration from the intestines depends on the number of larvae produced. As the larvae migrate through tissue and vessels, the body's inflammatory response results in oedema, muscle pain, fever, and weakness. A classic sign of trichinosis is swelling around the eyes, splinter hemorrhage in the nails is also a common symptom.  The worms may cause enough damage to produce serious neurological deficits as they attack the central nervous system. The CNS is compromised by trichinosis in 10–24% of reported cases of a form of stroke.  Trichinosis can be fatal depending on the severity of the infection; death can occur 4–6 weeks after the infection, and is usually caused by myocarditis, encephalitis, or pneumonia.

 

 

- Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) -  is a parasitic worm that causes Trichuriasis.  If infection is only with a few worms, there are often no symptoms.[In those who are infected with many worms, there may be abdominal pain, tiredness and diarrhoea, which sometimes contains blood.  Infections in children may cause poor intellectual and physical development.  Low red blood cell levels may occur due to loss of blood.  The disease is spread by people eating food or water that contains the eggs of these worms. The eggs are in the faeces of people infected with the worms and the disease is most common in areas of the world where human faeces are used as fertilizer. The worms live in the large bowel and are about four centimetres in length. Whipworm is diagnosed by seeing the eggs when examining the stool with a microscope.  Prevention is by properly cooking food and hand washing before cooking.

 

 - Trypanosoma brucei - Human African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness is a parasitic disease of humans and other animals, caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei and transmitted by the tsetse fly. There are two subspecies that infect humans, T.b. gambiense and T.b. rhodesiense, with the former accounting for over 95% of reported cases and the latter accounting for the remaining reported cases. The disease is endemic in some regions of sub-Saharan Africa, covering areas in 36 countries containing more than 60 million people. A recent study estimates that the total African population at risk of contracting sleeping sickness is 69.3 million people.  In addition to the bite of the tsetse fly, the disease can be transmitted by:

  • Mother-to-child infection: the trypanosome can sometimes cross the placenta and infect the fetus.
  • Laboratories: accidental infections, for example, through the handling of blood of an infected person and organ transplantation, although this is uncommon.
  • Blood transfusion
  • Sexual contact

Sleeping sickness causes death through brain damage

 

Trypanosoma cruzi - Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis, is a tropical parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and spread mostly by insects known as Triatominae or 'kissing bugs'.  Chagas disease affects 8 to 10 million people living in endemic Latin American countries, with an additional 300,000–400,000 living in nonendemic countries, including Spain and the United States.

 

Causes

We can get parasites from contaminated food or water, bug bites, or sexual contact. Parasites normally enter the body through the skin or mouth. Close contact with pets can lead to parasite infestation as a number of animals are hosts to parasites.

Treatments

We have two main approaches to the treatment of parasites

Pharmaceuticals - It is interesting to me that this is one area where the medical profession, in some cases, appear to be at a loss as to what to do using pharmaceuticals.
Albendazole and mebendazole have been the treatments administered to entire populations to control hookworm infection. However, these drugs have proved largely ineffective as people often become reinfected within a few months.  Another medication administered to kill worm infections has been pyrantel pamoate. But for some parasitic diseases there is no pharmaceutical treatment.  In one rather alarming development a series of recent papers have even proposed the use of viruses to treat infections.

Alternative approaches - Most so called alternative medicine approaches are geared to finding the cause - the source of the parasite and then either helping people to eradicate or avoid the cause or providing them with protection - mosquito nets for example to protect them from getting malaria, filters to help them filter water supplies, better sewerage systems, installation of clean water supplies, and so on.

One alternative prevention method is the SIT (Sterile Insect Technique) where a significant number of artificially reared sterilized (usually through irradiation) male insects are introduced. The male insects compete with wild bred males for females in order to copulate and thus cause females to lay batches of unfertilized eggs which can't develop into the larval stage.

Another proven technique is ironing!  Clothes should be washed thoroughly, preferably in hot water, dried away from flies, and ironed thoroughly. The heat of the iron kills the eggs of myiasis-causing flies. [I remember that this was well known in Zambia and 'houseboys' were paid according to how good and thorough they were in this respect].

Quite a number of foods help with parasite eradication and there are also treatments such as MORA that can help. 

How it works

How Parasites produce spiritual experiences such as hallucinations, visions etc depend on the illnesses they cause and which part of the body are attacked by the parasite.  Thus you will need to refer to the illnesses above for specific details.

Observations

You will find the observations for each illness caused by parasites within the description of the illness itself.

Related observations