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Articles » Diseases of Mankind » Parasites


There are many different sizes of parasites including single-celled protozoa and multi-celled parasites like worms, flukes, and even insects. Some other small parasitic creatures are called filaria, richettsias and spirochettes. Fungi and yeasts are parasitic plants.

Single-celled protozoa: The smallest parasites are single-celled protozoa. Some of these diseases include:

  • Malaria, also called ague: a single-celled protozoa spread by mosquitoes
  • Sleeping sickness (African): trypanosome parasite spread by the tsetse fly
  • Chagas disease: caused by trypanosome cruzi
  • Dysentery: usually caused by parasites
  • Toxoplasmosis: parasite Toxoplasma gondii, can be caught from raw meat or from live cats
  • Schistosomiasis: a parasite spread by snails
  • Typhus: a group of diseases caused by richettsia parasites transported by insect vectors

Worms: Worms are a large type of parasite. There are several worm conditions such as:

  • Pinworms: small worms that can infest the digestive area, usually harmless, causing only itching.
  • Roundworms: usually in the intestines, sometimes the stomach, can be long
  • Hookworms: usually in the intestines, feeding on blood
  • Elephantiasis: extreme swelling caused by filarial worms
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworm: worm in the large intestine
  • Flukes: similar to worms, they usually infect the digestive tract, though some flukes infect other body organs

Insect parasites: humans can be infested or fed upon by a variety of insects including lice, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and so on. The majority of these are not diseases themselves, but rather transmit other parasitic diseases such as malaria (mosquitoes), sleeping sickness (tsetse flies), or Lyme disease (deer ticks). However, a few directly insect-caused diseases are common:

Antibiotics and parasites: Although antibiotics are better known for their use against bacteria, there are many parasitic infections that are treated by antibiotics.

Vaccinations and parasites: The development of vaccinations against parasitic infections has not been as effective as vaccines against viruses or bacteria.


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