Pathogens

Parasites – Infection, Transmission & Diseases

Parasites

By definition, a parasite is an organism that infects and usually harms another living being in order to survive. In addition, the infested organism is used for its own reproductive purposes.

What are parasites?

If a body is infested with parasites , there can be a significant impairment in terms of the function of individual organs. Basically, a parasite feeds on the cells of its host, thus depriving it of vital nutrients.

In modern medicine, the parasites are differentiated according to their habitats. The parasites that will reside, for example, in the organism of those affected are referred to as endoparasites. On the other hand, the parasites are referred to as ectoparasites if they are outside the body.

For example, the endoparasites are found particularly frequently in the blood or in the intestines of those affected. The ectoparasites find a suitable habitat both in the hair of those affected and on their skin . However, parasites do not only affect the human body. The organism of animals can also suffer considerable damage from an infestation with parasites.

Meaning & Function

Basically, parasites enjoy a relatively low profile in modern society. For a long time, only the potential risks of parasitic infestation were considered. However, leading scientists have now recognized the benefits of parasites.

The potential benefit of parasites can be seen particularly clearly in the case of tapeworms . As part of a recent study, more than 16 barnacle sharks were autopsied. During the autopsy, the tapeworms were removed from the sharks. Astonishingly, the scientists were able to determine a particularly high concentration of toxic heavy metals in the tissue of the tapeworms. In contrast, only low concentrations of cadmium and lead were found in the tissues of the sharks.

However, the parasites render their useful services not only in the organisms of animals. As early as 1970, John Turton dared a breathtaking self-experiment. John Turton, who suffers from numerous allergies , infected himself with a particularly aggressive type of tapeworm. According to his theses, the number of allergic reactions should be significantly reduced by the activity of the parasites. Just two years later, John Turton reported on his groundbreaking successes in a medical journal. By this time, the scientist was already free of allergies.

Diseases

In addition to the potential benefits of parasites , the possible risks should be examined more closely. For example, numerous infectious diseases are caused by parasites.

Among other things, malaria can be traced back to a previous parasite infestation. Depending on the type of parasite, different symptoms can appear. Since a large number of the parasites are ingested orally, the intestine is one of the organs most at risk. After making their way through the body, the parasites penetrate the walls of the small intestine . This means that they can spread unhindered in the lymphatic vessels and in the blood vessels.

As the disease progresses, numerous organs are affected by the parasites. Other organs at risk include the lungs and liver . The tissue of the individual organs is often completely destroyed. Inflammation of the small intestine is often the first sign of a parasite infestation. It is not uncommon for the parasite infestation to be accompanied by bloody excretions.

As a result of a lack of nutrients, a significant loss of weight becomes visible in those affected. The individual types of parasites represent a particular danger, especially for pregnant women. In several cases, the parasites have already been able to disable the various protective mechanisms of the placenta. As a result, the unborn babies developed cerebral disorders.

One of the less serious consequences of cerebral disorders is a disturbance of the central language center. In particularly severe cases, the cerebral disorders are accompanied by a relatively high increase in pressure in the brain. Unless the baby’s skull is opened immediately after birth, the parasite can noticeably impair vital functions.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.