The Most Common Types of Human Intestinal Parasites

Parasites are diverse groups of infective organisms that use different strategies to infect their hosts. Parasites are not only known to infect humans, they are also ever-present among animal groups and plants. Some parasites are found in the external parts of the body, while others can thrive on the inside, usually in the intestinal tracts.

Because of the complexity of parasites, some may require only one host in order to complete its life cycle, while others require vector hosts . Vectors usually are micro-predators, such as small fish, frogs, and birds that transport parasitic infection from one host to another. In this cycle, parasites need to undergo sexual maturity before they can permanently live in any host.

During interactions between the parasites and their hosts one thing is for certain, that the parasites will continue to exploit its gracious hosts not simply living as unwanted tenants, but even feeding off their host’s energy and organic nutrients. In short, they cannot simply survive on their own. And to some degree, parasites will exhibit adaptive structural behavior that can cause a scale of health damage to their hosts, such as causing illnesses or diseases, while others can even cause its host’s death.

Parasites are opportunistic organisms. They can detect if their host is at its worst health, which gives them the opportunity to proliferate at their best. In this regard, they love to thrive in sick bodies.

Detecting them can be extremely difficult. Seventy percent of parasites are microscopic and only thirty percent can be seen by the naked eye. Microscopic parasites can hide in organs, such as the liver and the brain and no known medical tests yet can detect them. It is much more difficult to get rid of parasites. Most remedies that promise to get rid of them usually only mean that they will help reduce their numbers. Even medicinal drugs, herbs, or respite machines cannot easily eliminate most parasites’ tenacity. And although things may seem to be improving for an infected host, re-infection can occur anytime, anywhere, and easily.

For most people, the thought of parasites conjures an image of intestinal microscopic worms that attach themselves to the intestinal walls and suck in whatever source of nutrients they can feast on. This idea may be because of the usual vague imagery suggestion by many article write-ups, but the truth about parasites is more than that.

There are four classifications of parasites. The first one is the Protozoa or one-celled parasite. These parasites may infect any single cell and can multiply themselves such as with viruses and bacteria. An example of a Protozoa parasite is Malaria, which is a blood parasite carried by infected mosquitoes that affects the red blood cells. Another is the Naegleria Protozoa that affects brain cells and the spinal cord.

The second kind of parasites is the Nematodes or roundworms. This is how most people picture their parasites. They are bigger than the one-celled Protozoa. They can be ingested through microscopic worms that linger under nail beds, are ingested, and then are hatched into the body. Examples of this type are pinworms, hookworms, and ascaris.

Another kind of parasite is the Trematode or Fluke. These parasites are the hardest to get rid of. Flukes come from eating raw or undercooked fish, meats, and water plants or can be carried by our pets. The most common Flukes are liver flukes that are white flattish-like worms that can infect the gallbladder and duct.

The last type of parasite is the Cestodes or the tapeworms. These worms may grow as long as 33 feet inside the stomach and can lay over one million eggs per day. They are grayish-white in color and can be transmitted from one host to another through the anus-hand-mouth route. They can be passed along by pets and be ingested by eating undercooked meats.

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