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Parasite Infections: The Different Types of Infections

Parasite Infections

There are many different types of parasites that can affect both animals and humans. Here is a list of the most common parasite infections:

Roundworm Parasite Infections

Necator americanus — This parasite can reach a length of just a little over one centimeter. It usually enters the system through the feet and attaches to the small intestine, causing anemia and abdominal disorders.

Ancylostoma duodenale — This parasite enters through the skin and makes its home in the small intestines. It can grow to a length of approximately 1.3 cm. Parasite infections with this roundworm cause anemia, and gastrointestinal distress.

Ancyclostoma braziliense — A. Braziliense parasite makes its way into the body through the skin and eventually makes its home there as well. The larva of this parasite can get to be three tenths of a millimeter. Infections cause skin lesions and itching.

Ascaris lumbricoides — This large roundworm can grow to a length of 35 centimeters. It enters the body through the mouth and matures in the small intestines. Infections cause vague symptoms of abdominal discomfort.

Toxocara canis — The toxocara worm parasite enters the body through the mouth and causes infections of the liver, lung, brain, and eyes. The larva are small at a length of about 0.3 millimeters. Symptoms of infection include pneumonitis.

Enterobius vermicularis — As known as the pinworm, this parasite enters the body through the mouth and makes its home in the appendix and the large intestine. It can reach a length of 1.3 centimeters. Infections of this organism is known to cause anal itching.


Trichuris trichuria — Trichuris is also referred to as whipworm or threadworm parasite. It makes its home in the large intestine or the ileum after entering the body through unwashed vegetables. These parasite infections cause abdominal discomfort, anemia, and bloody stool. Whipworm can grow to a length of 5 centimeters.

Trichinella spiralisTrichinosis is the condition usually caused by this specific parasite. Trichinella infection occurs via infected pork. The parasite enters through the mouth and matures in the striated muscle. Once it reaches adulthood, it will enter and remains in the small intestine. It can grow up to 0.4 centimeters. Infections of trichonisis parasite may symptoms such as muscle pain and swelling.

Strongyloides stericoralis — Also known as Chinese diarrhea, this parasite enters the body through the skin and attaches to the wall of the small intestine. Infections cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. This parasite can get to be about 0.2 centimeters long.

Wuchereria bancrofti — This parasite is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. It can grow to 10 centimeters long. Infections with this parasite cause swelling of the lymph nodes and fever.

Brugia malayi — Similar to W. bancrofti, this parasite is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. Infections with this parasite cause swelling of the lymph nodes and fever. But B. malayi is a smaller parasite, with a maximum length of 6 centimeters.

Symptoms of Parasites

Acanthocheilonema perstans — This parasite attaches to the body cavities after entering via a fly bite. Once there, it grows to a length of 8 centimeters and infections with this parasite cause abdominal pain and liver disorders.

Mansonella ozzardi — This parasite infects the body cavities via a fly bite. It reaches a maximum length of 8 centimeters, but it usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms.

Loa loa — Also known as eyeworm, L.loa infects humans through fly bites. Infections with this parasite cause localized inflammation and possibly the development of a transient tumor. Its maximum length is 7 centimeters.

Onchocerca volvulus — Infections with this parasite cause a condition called blinding filariasis in which the sufferer may experience either a temporary or a permanent loss of vision. It enters the body from a fly bite and grows to a length of 50 centimeters.

Dracunulus medinensis — Also known as fiery serpent or Guinea worm, this parasite can grow to a length of 120 centimeters. It enters the body via the mouth and makes its home in the skin. Infections with this parasite cause inflammation and ulceration of the legs and feet.

Tapeworm Parasite Infections

Taenia saginata — This parasite is also known as the beef tapeworm. It forms cysts in beef and infects humans through the ingestion of undercooked or raw beef. It enters the small intestines and can reach a length of 12 meters! However, it usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms.

Hymenolepis nana — The dwarf tapeworm enters the body through the ingestion of undercooked or poorly washed foods. It grows to 4 centimeters. Infections with this parasite can cause abdominal discomfort in the body.

Hymenolepis diminuta — The rat tapeworm grows to 60 centimeters long. It infects humans via insect cysts but usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms.

Taenia solium — The pork tapeworm infects humans via the infection of raw or undercooked infected pork. It can grow to 15 centimeters long, but it does not usually cause any noticeable symptoms.

Echinococcus granulosus — This tapeworm enters the body from the eggs of dog feces. Infections with this parasite affects the liver lungs, brain and bones causing pressure in the body and various symptoms of discomfort. Its maximum length is 15 centimeters.


Fluke Parasite Infections

Schistosoma mansoni — This fluke ranges in size from 1.4 to 2.6 centimeters. It enters the body via the skin and makes its home in the bladder or the intestines. Infections with this parasite include dysentery and other digestive disorders.

Fassiolopsis boski — This intestinal fluke enters the body via the ingestion of infected water nuts and vegetables. It ranges in size from 2 to 7 centimeters and it causes diarrhea, swelling, and abdominal pain.

Clonorchis sinensis — The human liver fluke infects humans through the ingestion of infected fresh water fish. It makes its home in the bile ducts, causing indigestion and diarrhea. It can reach a length of 2.5 centimeters.

Paragonimus westernani — The lung fluke grows to one centimeter in length. It infects the human body through the consumption of infected fresh water fish, namely crabs. This fluke makes its home in the lungs. Infections with this parasite can cause coughing, abdominal pain, and fever.

Protozoa Parasite Infections

Plasmodium species — There are several species of these parasite protozoa. They all enter the body through infectious mosquito bites, transfusions, or dirty syringes. Once in the body, infections with this parasite species of protozoa cause fever, chills, sweating, and enlarged spleen.

Leishmania species — This protozoa species enters the body via the skin and causes fever, leukopenia, and chronic ulceration.

Trypanosoma species — African sleeping sickness is among the diseases caused by this protozoa species. It enters the body through the bite from a tsetse fly causing fever, rash, headache, and enlarged spleen and liver.

Giardia lambia — This parasite causes giardiasis and condition characterized by gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and weight loss. It enters the body usually through contaminated food and water and makes its home in the small intestine.

Toxoplasma gondii — This protozoa enters the body through the consumption of infected meat, or contact with infected feline stools. Once inside, it causes a condition called toxoplasmosis. Infections with this parasite can lead to seizures, fatigue, and even death.

by Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

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