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Parasites

Parasites are organisms that are adapted to living in or in close proximity to another organism, or host.   While parasites rarely kill the host they feed on, they do produce varying degrees of ill effects.

The following is a list of parasites that enter the body through the food we eat and by piercing the skin.   There are many parasites that afflict humans by bites, such as mosquitoes, ticks, lice, mites, fleas and hookworms, but other parasites are sometimes found in the food we eat.   Lesson two discussed how to minimize our risk to parasites in food; mainly by cleaning and cooking our food thoroughly.  Protection from parasites that enter through the skin is mainly a matter of proper control of insect pests.  Click on the Lesson Guide for pesticides to learn more about that topic.

Parasites
Habitat
Disease
Symptoms
Lice Humans, clothing, bedding Epidemics such as Typhus fever Fever, headache, muscle ache, jaundice, etc.
Ticks Found in woodlands, fields and shrubbery Carries encephalitis, tick paralysis, typhus, and Lyme disease Fever, headache, muscle pains, stiff neck, vomiting,
Mosquitoes Near shallow pools of water Malaria, Typhus, West Nile fever Fever, headache, rashes, muscle aches, joint aches, anemia, coma
Fleas Rats Bubonic plague High fever, chills, muscular pains, severe headache, painful swellings, swollen lymph glands
Horse Flies Meadows and open grasslands; near marshy areas or slow streams Transmits diseases from species to species Depends on the disease
Toxoplasma gondii Cat litter and raw meat Meningitis/ pneumonia Sensitivity to light, fever, headache, stiff neck, cough, fever, chest pain, fatigue
Cryptosporidium parvum Contaminated food Cryptosporidosis Watery diarrhea, cramps, nausea and anorexia, lasting ten to fifteen days
Cyclospora Food/water contaminated by infected  fecal matter Cayetanensis Watery diarrhea, with frequent sometimes explosive bowel movements
Giardia lamblia Passed in the feces of infected persons Giardiasis May cause severe chronic diarrhea
Trichinella spiralis Undercooked meat Trichinosis Fever, muscle soreness, pain and swelling of the muscles and eyes: failure to treat could be fatal
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