Whenever we hear the word “parasite,” we sometimes think that getting infected by it can only happen in remote areas particularly those locations with poor health systems. But believe it or not, parasites living in a human’s body is actually a pretty common thing. Most of them don’t provide any symptoms and so people have no knowledge about their existence.
A recent study suggested that at least 60 percent of the entire world’s population has one living parasite inside. Apparently, though, most of them have no concrete knowledge about this.
Without further ado, here are ten of the most common asymptomatic parasites that are possibly infecting you right now.
If you’re fond of eating rare steak, then you better watch out. These tape measure-shaped parasites are known to enter human hosts through undercooked and/or raw meat. They can even grow up to 50 ft. long depending on how severe the infection is. Their favorite places are human beings’ intestines and are capable of feeding off the intestinal wall if they reach full-blown adult stage. Tapeworms are usually transferred from animals, particularly pigs and cows.
#9. Liver Flukes
Liver flukes are another type of parasite capable of infecting your ducts and, well, your liver. They usually breed in freshwater snails, though humans can sometimes acquire them through freshwater fish. Unfortunately, these parasites barely cause symptoms in their hosts; hence the target barely knows if he/she is infected. Flukes that have matured over time can cause severe to chronic inflammation of the bile ducts, which, in most cases, may lead to gallstones.
There are two types of hookworms capable of infecting human beings: the Ancylostoma Duodenale and the Necator Americanus. They’re perhaps the most interesting parasites in terms of acquisition. They first enter through a person’s feet, leaving the target with some itchy rashes. They also tend to travel along the person’s bloodstream and, worse, can possibly enter the lungs. Once in the latter, they can cause irritation to the lung tissue forcing the host to try and cough them out. Although hookworms are usually fond of spoiling the lungs, the small intestine is where they really build a home.
Of all the parasites in this list, pinworms are the fastest to spread. They’re common in North America, and for them, a human’s anus is home. So if a person – for whatever reason it is – scratches his anus, anything he touches with that hand is covered and/or infected with tapeworm eggs. Although symptoms rarely surface, some reportedly experience mild irritation. This encourages the victim to scratch his/her butt and spread the eggs further.
In its most organic form, ascariasis is a roundworm infestation that loves to reside in the small intestine. It usually spreads from an exposure to uncooked meat or human feces. In most cases, however, the infection happen through human-to-human exposure. Apparently, though, children are the most common targets of ascariasis. This is due to the fact that kids love to put their hands in their mouths. This parasite causes bloated stomachs, though they can easily be removed once a person is ready to poop.
#5. Echinococcus Granulosus
Unfortunately, our favorite pet dogs are the main reason of how we can acquire Echinococcus Granulosus. Interestingly, though, this parasite tends to slowly grow inside its human host for years without any symptoms whatsoever. It’s true that it usually infects dogs, but can be acquired when a person is exposed to canine feces.
Like tapeworm, this roundworm infestation can also be acquired by eating undercooked and/or raw meat. Trichinosis usually resides in pig or boar meat. So, as much as possible, be sure to cook the meat properly. Remember that once its larva makes it to the intestines, it will soon develop into a mature worm. This worm will then produce more larvae, all of which are capable of infecting a person’s muscles and other tissues.
#3. Dientamoeba Fragilis
This single-celled parasite is somehow mysterious. Medical experts or scientists have no knowledge of how it gets transmitted, as well as the possibility of it producing symptoms or not. While it may possibly cause diarrhea and/or abdominal pain, it’s still asymptomatic. This is perhaps among the challenges that modern scientists need to overcome.
Microsporidia is a group of single-celled parasitic fungi and is capable of infecting a massive range of living things, with humans being one. Apparently, if the human host is weakened in some form like being immunocompromised, this parasite can either exist harmlessly or asymptomatically. Microsporidia sometimes live in fish, though they were initially deemed protists. But since their genomes appear to be more fungi-like than any other eukaryotic organisms, medical experts classified them as such.
#1. Toxoplasma Gondii
According to Listverse, toxoplasma gondii is famous for being a parasite that’s capable of altering a host’s brain. Believe it or not, it actually aims to be in the gut of a cat. And how it gets there is definitely an interesting topic for discussion. It usually infects mice or rats that got exposed to cat feces. Afterwards, it will travel to the brain. Research suggests that toxoplasma gondii alters the natural fear of predators of a rodent. It will instead turn this fear into an attraction. So why exactly this happens? It’s because the parasite wants the rodent to be eaten by the cat. And once this “feast” takes over, it can end up in the cat’s gut.
Apparently, though, this parasite is also capable of infecting humans. The infected will not notice any symptoms unless she’s pregnant. And since it’s capable of altering the host’s thinking, it can cause schizophrenia and, worse, suicide. Most mainstream scientists don’t accept such notion, but they agree with the altering prowess of the parasite.
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