The Most Common Parasites Found in Humans

Common Parasites

What are the long-term health effects of a parasitic infection?

What are the Most Common Parasites Found in Humans?

Parasites are an important guardian of human health and can cause a variety of uncomfortable and often dangerous illnesses. Parasites can range from the tiny and unnoticeable to the large and visually apparent, and range from benign to dangerous. The most common parasites found in humans are protozoa, helminths and blood-sucking arthropod species.

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Protozoa Parasites

Protozoans are the most common parasites that infect humans, and can cause diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness. The most common species of protozoa parasites are Plasmodium, Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium. These parasites can be spread by mosquitoes, food, water and human contact. Protozoan infections can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, and vomiting in humans.

Helminths Parasites

Helminths are large, parasitic worms that can be found in the digestive tract and other areas of the human body. They include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and whipworms. These parasites can be contracted through ingestion of contaminated food or water, contact with infected animals or through contact with infected soil. Infection with helminths can cause symptoms such as digestive distress, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, rash and fatigue.

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Arthropods Parasites

Arthropods are parasites that use blood-sucking to obtain their nutrition. These include fleas, lice, ticks, mosquitoes and bed bugs. These parasites can be very dangerous and can spread a variety of diseases to humans and other animals. These include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile virus, Dengue fever and malaria.

Prevention and Treatment of Parasite Infections

The best way to prevent parasite infection is to practice good hygiene, including washing hands regularly and avoiding contact with infected animals or people. It is also important to use insect repellents when outdoors, and to always use clean water when brushing your teeth or drinking. Proper food preparation, including cooking food to proper temperatures and avoiding uncooked or undercooked food, can also help.

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If a parasite infection is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Depending on the type of parasite and the severity of the infection, the doctor may recommend oral medications or in some cases even surgery. Taking the necessary precautions and treatments can help to ensure the health of a person and reduce the risk of severe or life-threatening illnesses.