There are three types of parasites that can cause disease in humans. Within these types are numerous species.
Parasites are organisms that live in or on a living host of another species. They survive by taking nutrients from this host.
In this article, we detail the different types of parasites and parasitic infections that can affect humans.
There are three types of parasites that can cause diseases in humans.
- Protozoa: Protozoa parasites are single-celled organisms. Protozoa can only multiply, or divide, within the host.
- Helminths: These are worm parasites. They are
typically visibleto the naked eye at their adult stage. Unlike protozoa, they cannot multiply in humans.
- Ectoparasites: These live on rather than in their hosts. They include lice, fleas, and mosquitoes.
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Many types of parasites can affect humans. Here are some examples of parasites and the diseases they can cause.
Plasmodium is a single-cell parasite that causes malaria. This disease causes fever, headaches, and chills. It can be fatal.
The Anopheles mosquito carries this bloodborne parasite and transmits it through biting humans. There are five types of plasmodium that can cause malaria, and there were an estimated
This affects the blood, muscles, nerves, heart, esophagus, and colon. It is transmitted through an insect bite. Over
This is a parasitic pneumonia
This tiny ameba
Also known as “trich,” this is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is the result of the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It affects the female urogenital tract. It can exist in males, but usually without symptoms.
Other protozoan infections include:
Worms, or helminth organisms, can affect humans and animals. Types of worm parasites include:
Ascariasis, or a roundworm infection, does not usually cause symptoms, but the worm
Beef and pork tapeworms
A roundworm transmits this infection from animals to humans. It affects the eyes, brain, and liver.
Elephantiasis lymphatic filariasis
Other types of worm parasites include:
- Echinococcus tapeworm
- Diphyllobothrium latum tapeworm
- raccoon roundworm
- Guinea worm
- Enterobiasis pinworm
- Fasciolosis liver fluke
- Fasciolopsiasis intestinal fluke
- Loa loa filariasis
- river blindness
- lung fluke
- schistosomiasis, bilharzia, or snail fever
Ringworm is sometimes mistaken for a worm, but it is not a worm. It is a fungal infection.
Ectoparasites are parasites that live on the outside of the body. Fleas, lice, and bedbugs are common ectoparasites.
Bedbugs are small insects that live on clothing and bedding. Their bites can become itchy and cause skin discoloration and swelling.
Lice are parasitic insects that live off of human blood. Tea
Demodex folliculorum are tiny mites that live in and around the hair follicles. Typically they do not cause noticeable adverse symptoms. However, they can cause a range of ocular diseases if they infest the eyelashes or eyebrows.
Scabies is a condition that results from tiny mites, called Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis, burrowing into the skin. Scabies is highly contagious and can spread through skin-to-skin contact.
Screwworms are the fly larvae that burrow into the skin. They can cause severe infection and disease.
There are three main types of parasites that can affect humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. These parasites can live on or in the human body and cause various diseases.
These parasites are often the result of consuming contaminated foods or water, though insects and other animals can also carry parasites.