Some Common Parasitic Diseases in Human, Signs and Symptoms

Nowadays, a parasitic disease in humans is a popular disease. However, many people are still quite vague about the symptoms and causes for effective prevention. Accidentally, we create more or less continuous opportunities for transmission, causing harm to our health.

If not treated promptly, parasites will seriously impact life and pose dangerous health symptoms. Therefore, understanding parasite disease is an essential thing in order to “cut off" the potential sources of disease for taking good care of yourself and your family.

What Is A Parasitic Disease?

Parasites are living things that use other living things like the body (known as the host) for food and a place to live. It uses the host’s resources to fuel for maintaining its life cycle. Usually, up to 70% of types of parasites are not visible to the human eye.

A parasitic disease in humans is caused by transmissions of parasites or infectious diseases. Parasite disease's impact on every human is not the same due to different parasites having different effects. The common parasites are divided into 3 main groups, causing harm to the host body including:

Protozoa are single-celled eukaryotes causing protozoa, also known as Plasmodium. They live on the host body and can multiply by division.

Worms: This is a common parasite and has a high risk of disease. Some types of helminths that humans can easily infected illness such as roundworm, pinworm, tapeworm, etc. There are some worm parasites that can reach up to 30 meters in length.
Ectoparasites: Parasites' habitat within the host body. Parasites depend on a third, known as a vector or an intermediary to transmit the endoparasite to the host. For example, the mosquito is a vector containing many parasites, through the transmission of parasites by blood-sucking mosquitoes to enter a human body.

Which Subjects Are Easily Infected With Parasites?

Vietnam has a hot and humid climatic condition, which is ideal for parasites to develop strongly. So, anyone can also be infected with parasites. Parasitic diseases have a higher risk of getting the infection than others in the following cases:

  • People living in dirty environments, crowded residential areas.
  • Children are sent to kindergarten easily transmitted head lice by close person-to-person contact.
  • Do not guarantee hygiene for pets and let them move freely outside such as cats and dogs.
  • The eating habits are not guaranteed hygienic such as blooding, raw meat, sushi, etc.
  • There is unhealthy sex life.
  • Frequently moving in many places like business trips, travel, etc.
  • Food and water sources are not unsafe.

Common Parasitic Disease In Humans?

Some types of parasites cause serious harm to infected people, affect the quality of life and lead to life-threatening complications. The common parasitic diseases and their harms, causes, symptoms as follows:

1. Fasciola

Mode of transmission: Humans get infected with liver flukes via the gastrointestinal tract by eating food and drinking water containing eggs and larvae, these parasites enter the liver and bile of patients. Liver flukes live on raw fish, unboiled food, the body of dogs and cats.

Harms: The liver of the patient suffers from fibrosis, fat in the liver becomes degenerative, gets ascites. If not treated early, it will lead to liver cancer. Patients also get diarrhea because
Liver flukes cause intestinal obstruction. The waste products of liver fluke can also cause anemia, pale skin, and allergic reaction.

Clinical symptoms: Fascioliasis includes clonorchiasis and Fasciola Hepatica causing various clinical signs and symptoms in the following cases.

Clonorchiasis: Initially, liver pain is often described as dull, the patient is anorexia, flatulence, and indigestion. Frequently diarrhea or constipation due to intestinal problems. Later on, the symptoms will become more serious, throbbing pain in the liver, ascites, severe anemia, and jaundice will begin to appear.

Fasciola Hepatica: This disease is common in the elderly and children. The parasites are mainly found in cattle and buffaloes. Initially, there will be arguments. Later, there will be coughing attacks, stuffy, abdominal, and flank pain with feeling nauseous and indigestible.

Diagnosis: Diagnosing fascioliasis through a blood test and stool test to look for metacercariae. In case parasites live on the lungs is abdominal ultrasound and X-rays.

Prevention: The best way to prevent fascioliasis is to eat boiled foods and drink boiled water, to limit eating raw foods such as fish salad, blood pudding.

2. Gianathostoma

Mode of transmission: Gianathostoma is caused by Gnathostoma spiniform and is normally found in cats, dogs, amphibia such as birds and fish. When the patient is in close contact with the source of infection, the larvae will invade the host’s tissues and move to various places causing swelling under the skin. Eating foods containing undestroyed larvae, which is also a mode of transmission.

Clinical symptoms harms:

When infected, gnathostome causes physical weakness and symptoms of fatigue, fever, dermatographic urticaria. There will be a feeling of anorexia and digestive problems leading to diarrhea, vomiting.

The appearance of tumors under the skin, pain, itching, and swelling to form abscesses. If the larvae in the lungs will cause cough, chest pain. In serious cases it will affect the nervous system, causing encephalitis, paralysis, even death.

Diagnosis: The patient will conduct blood tests, ELISA tests, screen for larvae through ulcers.

Prevention: Foods made from aquatic products such as fish, shrimp, eels, and frogs need to be prepared and cooked thoroughly. Drink boiled water without impurities. When processing aquatic products, we should wear gloves to avoid the larvae invading the host’s body through open wounds or the skin directly.

3. Taeniasis

Mode of transmission: When eating infected meat that has not been fully cooked from pork or beef. Especially the habit of eating rare beef. Contact with waste containing tapeworm larvae live on raw vegetables through contaminated water.

Clinical symptoms: Patients will have symptoms of digestive disorders such as abdominal pain in the ileum, diarrhea. Complaints of fatigue, anorexia, irritability can lead to intestinal obstruction.

Harms: A person who has taeniasis feels always tired, stressed, difficulty concentrating, and lacks blood in the body.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis of taeniasis by identifying the tapeworm proglottids which come out of your anus when going to the toilet. Doctors will perform blood and stool tests for certain diseases and conditions.

Prevention: Take notice of food hygiene, especially products from cows and pigs. When a person is infected with taeniasis, they should be treated quickly, and in preventing their transmission to the other patients who have been in close contact with them to reduce your risk of getting an infection.

4. Roundworm, pinworm

Mode of transmission: Pinworms and roundworms usually parasitize in the digestive tract of infected people to enter the body through eating and drinking the food containing larvae. The other reason is that the habit of putting dirty hands in your mouth.

Clinical symptoms harms:

Most people infected with roundworms and pinworms will have common problems in the digestive system such as anorexia, nausea, abdominal pain, and loose stools. In addition, patients also feel unpleasant itching at the edge of the anus due to the pinworm laying eggs and irritability, sleeping difficulties, teeth grinding.

Babies often cry at night, enuresis, convulsion. Pinworms can lead to genital inflammation, menstrual disorders in women, pneumonia. The most dangerous complication of pinworms and roundworms is appendicitis, intestinal perforation.

Diagnosis: The patient is diagnosed with a stool test to look for larvae. Performing ELISA and X-ray examination if you suspected that any stray worms cause blockage of pneumonia.

Prevention: Create good personal hygiene habits, wash your hands often, ensure food safety hygiene, limit raw vegetables. Parents need to teach their kids personal hygiene and not to put their hands in their mouths.

5. Malaria parasite

Mode of transmission: The Plasmodium parasite, also known as Plasmodium, is mediated by Anopheles mosquitoes, which will spread to humans through mosquito bites.

Clinical symptoms: When entering the human body, Plasmodium malaria parasites in red blood cells or liver cells causing cyclical malaria, which leads to anemia and an enlarged liver or spleen.

Diagnosis: The most obvious sign is fever. However, in order to distinguish between fever and malaria, doctors will perform blood tests to see KSSR-PCR, abdominal ultrasound, liver, and kidney function tests.

Prevention: Prevent the source of disease transmission by killing mosquito larvae through your actions that are to drain standing water after it rains and keep the lid of the container and the jars contained water closed. You should avoid mosquitoes when sleeping, the best way is to sleep under a net.

Treatment

How are parasitic infections treated? If you get infected, don't worry and use any antihelminthic drugs without your doctor’s advice. An infected person can get tested for parasites at the hospital to diagnose the condition and prescribe treatments.

Here is the common parasitic disease in humans. In order to ensure our health and limit the risk of infection, we need to raise awareness on healthy eating, ensuring food hygiene and safety. Make sure pets get good hygiene. Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap after playing with, feeding or hugging. Maintain a clean living environment to control the source of disease. If you suspect you might have the symptoms of parasite infection, find a specialty doctor to diagnose and treat you.

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The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.

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