Human parasitic diseases (from the Greek parasitos - "parasite") are a large group of diseases from the section "infectious diseases", the cause of which are unicellular and multicellular parasites.
A parasite is a living organism that lives or is in the body of the host and receives food from it or at its expense, that is, leads a parasitic lifestyle. They all know how to live in the human body, some completely imperceptibly, and some can cause serious damage to health.
Causes of parasitic diseases
There are three main classes of parasites that can cause disease in humans:
Protozoa are microscopic single-celled organisms that can be free-living or parasitic in nature. They are able to reproduce in humans, which contributes to their survival and also allows the development of serious infections from just one organism.
Helminths (from the Greek helmins - "worms") are large multicellular organisms that are usually visible to the naked eye during adulthood. Like protozoa, helminths can be either free-living or parasitic in nature. In their adult form, helminthsthey cannot reproduce in humans.
Ectoparasites: This term is usually used more closely to refer to organisms such as ticks, fleas and lice that attach or hide in the skin and remain there for a long period of time (weeks to months). Arthropods can cause infection on their own, and can carry other diseases.
List of parasitic infections: amebiasis, ascariasis, hymenolepiasis, diphyllobotriasis, clonorchiasis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, malaria (imported cases), opisthorchiasis, teniarinosis, teniasis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, trichomoniasis.
Signs of parasitic diseases.
Their manifestations can be varied and depend on the type and location of the parasite, as well as the level of immunity of the person who hosts them.
Protozoa most often cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Helminth infections can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle aches, cough, skin lesions, malnutrition, weight loss, incoordination, seizures and many other symptoms, depending on the individual and the severity of the infection.
Diagnosis and treatment of parasitic diseases
Diagnosis of parasitic diseases includes:
- Clinical blood test.
- Blood test for specific antibodies and antigens of parasites.
- Blood smear.
- Stool analysis for worm and parasite eggs.
- Endoscopic examination methods (eg colonoscopy, in case of complex diagnostics).
- Radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) for severe damage to internal organs by parasites.
The treatment plan will depend on the specific diagnosis. As a rule, drugs are prescribed in the form of tablets, sometimes inpatient treatment is required, until surgery.
Other treatments may be recommended to relieve symptoms (diet, water intake).
Prevention of parasitic diseases
Prevention is always easier than cure and there are easy ways to protect yourself.
Do not eat:
- undercooked fish, crabs and mussels;
- undercooked meat;
- raw aquatic plants;
- raw vegetables that may have been contaminated with human or animal faeces.
Parasites can live in natural water sources, so while swimming:
- do not swallow water;
- prevent babies from defecating in the water, carry babies to the toilet and check diapers every hour, change diapers in the bathroom or diaper change area instead of by the pool to avoid germs getting into the pool;
- do not swim and do not allow children to swim if they have diarrhea;
- do your mini inspection (pollution);
- wash for at least 1 minute before immersing in water.
Pets can carry parasites and transmit them to humans. Zoonotic disease is a disease that spreads between animals and humans. Sometimes people with zoonotic infections have no symptoms. Other people may have symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle aches and fever.
Regular veterinary care will protect your pet and your family. There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from diseases that can be transmitted by animals. Make sure your pet is cared for by a veterinarian.
Practice the four rules:
- Quickly collect animal feces and dispose of them properly. Be sure to wash your hands after handling household waste.
- Wash your hands often, especially after touching animals, and avoid contact with animal feces.
- Follow proper food handling procedures to reduce the risk of contamination with contaminated food.
- For people with weakened immune systems, be especially careful when dealing with animals that can transmit these infections.