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Parasitic worms in humans

Parasitic worm infections are the part of human lives, especially in developing countries. Some of them may live in your body, taking the nutrients and energy they need from you, because they are – parasites, and can’t live on their own. Several of them are responsible for serious medical conditions, but the most common of them are Hookworms, Tapeworms, Guinea worms, Ascaris and Filarial Worms.

Hookworm

People usually get infected with Hookworm by walking barefoot in the tropics. About 740 million people are estimated to be infected with these worms, especially children in the tropic regions of the world. Once the worm gets inside your body through the foot, it travels to the intestines and lives and develops to a mature worm in there. The worm needs nutrients from the blood, and people infected with hookworms can suffer from anemia, nausea, skin rashes or diarrhea. Children infected by hookworms may be affected by growth retardation, and intellectual and cognitive problems, because of this medical condition.

Tapeworm                       

This is very likely one of the longest worms you have ever seen, for it may grow even to some 12m inside the human organism. Echinococcus is one type of tapeworm which form a hydatid cyst (or hydatid disease) in infected people. Common way of infection is food contaminated with feces. The embryos of the worms travel through the blood and hook on the liver or the lungs and grow there.

Guinea Worm

These infectious parasites usually lay their eggs in the cold stagnant water. Humans get infected by drinking this water, and then the worm starts to grow in the arms or legs. Sometimes, it can even be a meter in length and as thick as spaghetti. After several weeks, the worm forms a blister on the skin and gets out of the human body, provoking intense pain for the human host. People tend to relieve the sore in cold water, infecting even more water with Guinea Worm eggs.

Filarial worms

This type of worms is transmitted through mosquito bites, to the lymphatic system and may cause serious health problems, like elephantiasis (edema, associated with thickening of the skin and other tissue).  

Ascaris

Ascaris worms are probably the longest of all worms that could live in the human body, because they can be some 40cm long. People get infected by eating unhealthy food contaminated with feces which contains Ascaris eggs. Then, the larva goes through intestines and respiratory system, gets re-swallowed and mature in the wall of the small intestine. This type of worm infection causes heavy infestations, sickness and fever. Keep in mind that Ascaris infections are very hard for children and that they are responsible for more than 20.000 death cases every year.

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