The 5 most terrible parasites that can live in the human body
Snakes, spiders and sharks can not just scare, but cause panic horror. However, they can hardly be called the most terrible living organisms on the planet. Whom then? Think about parasites – worms that cause blindness, amoebas that destroy the brain, and ticks that can provoke facial paralysis. Brrrrr.
For those who are not afraid of anything, we have compiled this list. In it – the five most terrible parasites, studying which food we strongly recommend to postpone.
Filar worms are an especially unpleasant group of roundworms that can cause lymphatic filariasis, a tropical disease more commonly known as elephantiasis. The most common parasite, Wuchereria bancrofti, responds in approximately 90% of all cases.
Parasites are transmitted by mosquitoes, but when inside the person, filar worms wedge into the lymph vessels, causing chaos in the lymphatic system responsible for removing toxins and other unnecessary substances. Worms can live in the human body for up to eight years, constantly erupting millions of microscopic larvae into the bloodstream.
In most cases, the disease is asymptomatic. This means that patients have no visible signs of infection, although their lymphatic system, immune system and kidneys may be at risk. If the signs do manifest, it can happen years after the infection. Physical symptoms can include chronic swelling of body tissues (lymphedema), “elephantiasis” (hardening and thickening of the skin), and men also have swelling of the scrotum.
A tick that lives in tall grass and bushes located on the east coast of Australia literally bites into a person with its sharp “teeth” before releasing anticoagulant saliva that prevents blood clotting. When feeding the parasite increases in size, turning into a centimeter-gray-blue drop on the skin.
In most cases, the tick bite leads not only to a localized tumor, but also to itching. In rare cases, however, it can cause tick paralysis and severe allergic reactions. IFL Science reports that there is also a new and rather bizarre syndrome, when patients suddenly develop anaphylactic reactions to meat and dairy products (a condition called “tick allergy in mammals”).
The earliest symptoms of tick paralysis include rashes, headaches, fever, sensitivity to bright light, unstable gait, weakening of limbs and partial paralysis of the face. If the tick is not removed, the patient may die from respiratory failure.
Miaz – an infection caused by the larvae of flies in the tissues and cavities of humans and animals – is already an extremely unpleasant story. But in fact, the cochlio-mias caused by the invasion of the larvae of the meatfly (Cochliomyia hominovorax) is something even more terrible.
Unlike other larvae, larvae of the meatfly are very fond of living tissues, so lay eggs (sometimes up to 400) in open wounds of animals. Here they hatch and grow, feeding on flesh before they begin to “dig” themselves a passage further into the host, using their powerful jaws and actually the bodies, which are covered with small thorns, so that it would be more convenient for them to cling to the skin. After a while, the larvae fall to the ground, where they already turn into full flies.
Fortunately, kohlio-miaz in humans is extremely rare, but when this happens, everything happens very quickly. Take the example of a woman whose infection developed after a holiday in the Dominican Republic. It started with irritation in the ear, which began to ache and bleed. Later, the doctors found that the larvae of the meatfly nest in the ear canal of the patient, which had to be removed manually before proceeding to treatment.
Onchocerca volvulus is a parasitic worm responsible for onchocerciasis (in other words, river blindness), a disease that can provoke skin disfigurement and serious visual disturbances. Most onchocerca occurs in the tropics, where WHO estimates that more than 25 million people are already infected and 123 million people are at risk.
Parasites are transmitted in the form of microfilariae through the bite of infected Simuliidae. They need about a year to grow into adult worms, which for another 10-15 years are able to live in the human body. During this time, the female worm can produce millions of descendants that pass through the host’s body to the skin, eyes and organs through the subcutaneous tissue, causing violent inflammatory reactions at the time when the worm dies.
Microfilariae can also cause skin rashes, swelling, inflammation, damage and nodes under the skin, which, if not properly treated, lead to severe dermatitis. The skin eventually loses its elasticity, turning into a “lizard skin”, and in some cases, a pigment (“tiger skin”). Plus, this is the fourth most common cause of preventable blindness: about 300,000 people were blinded by a parasite, and another 800,000 became visually impaired.
Naegleria fowleri is a parasite that no one will want to meet with goodwill (and which, by the way, we already somehow told in another dangerous collection). Fortunately, its infectious indicators are quite low: since 2012, there have been recorded 310 cases all over the world. On the other hand, the parasite remains the most dangerous creature with a mortality rate of 97%.
Also known as the “cerebral amoeba”, it usually feeds on bacteria in lakes, rivers and moist soil. In rare cases, the parasite can meet the host man – and then penetrates the brain, destroying the integrity of the tissues of its most important organ, leading to brain edema and death.
Early symptoms of infection are close to bacterial meningitis: headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting. As the disease progresses, patients develop a feeling of heaviness in the neck, loss of balance, convulsions, blurred consciousness, unmotivated anxiety and hallucinations. Death caused by primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) usually occurs within five days after infection.