These 10 Super-Dangerous Parasites May Be In Your Food
Parasites are creatures that can make us sick for two reasons: first when we learn what these tiny worms are capable of doing, and second when, unfortunately, they decide to appear in our digestive system. If you have always wondered how parasites come to us, what they cause and how to avoid them, check out the following list from Mashable that brings together the 10 most dangerous parasites on the planet:
10 - Trypanosoma cruzi
This parasite is responsible for Chagas disease, characterized by its slow development and, in many cases, practically invisible. Over time the patient develops fatal problems related mainly to the bowel and heart.
Contamination usually occurs through contact with the feces of insects popularly known as "barbers". Transmission occurs through ingestion of contaminated food, insect bite (which defecates in the bloodstream while feeding), blood transfusion, organ transplantation and mother to fetus.
Recent research has found that contamination can also occur through eating infected food. Many recent cases are known to be caused by ingestion of contaminated sugarcane juice and fruit. It is always good, therefore, to know the origin of the foods you consume.
9 - Ascaris spp.
These worms can reach 35 cm during their stay in the human intestines. Just to give you an idea, 25% of the population has one of these pets living in their gut, making it the most common parasite in humans. Contamination occurs by ingesting the eggs of this parasite, which grows in the intestine and migrates to other parts of the body, reaching the lungs and then into the throat, where it is swallowed; then it goes to the stomach and back to the gut where it develops into adulthood.
The female produces hundreds of eggs a day. These eggs are eliminated by faeces and end up contaminating the environment, spreading the disease even more. It has recently been found that Ascaris suum, which until then only infected pigs, is now able to be a parasite in humans as well.
8 - Opisthorchiidae
These flatworms are more popular in Asia, although some species are also common in Europe and Russia. Contamination occurs through the consumption of raw or undercooked contaminated fish. When ingested by humans, the larvae become adults and live in the bile duct and gallbladder.
Chronic infections by these worms are significantly associated with the onset of liver cancer and also in the bile duct. One way to prevent contagion is by freezing or cooking freshwater fish.
7 - Trichinella spiralis
It is a pork worm responsible for the onset of a disease known as trichinosis, which is a muscle infection caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked pork or by the consumption of smoked sausages.
It is impossible to see the cysts in contaminated meat, but each of these structures contains larvae that, once in the digestive system, multiply and invade the muscle tissues where they attach.
6 - Entamoeba histolytica
This parasite also considers the human gut a good place to live and once you get infected with it, you will feel a lot of abdominal pain and have episodes of diarrhea. If this happens, seek medical attention, especially if along with the stool you notice the presence of blood.
In more serious cases, the parasite leaves the intestines and spreads to other parts of the body, striking and damaging the liver and other organs.
5 - Cryptosporidium spp.
This protozoan is transmitted through the consumption of contaminated water or the use of contaminated water to wash food. In addition, care must be taken when consuming unpasteurized milk and seafood whose origins are unknown.
The main symptom of contamination is severe diarrhea. One way to avoid ingesting this type of worm is always to wash fair products with drinking water, even those that are already packaged and considered already washed.
4 - Toxoplasma gondii
Cats and rodents are most affected by this protozoan, which is one of the most widespread in the world. Human infection ranges from 10 to 80% in different regions of the world. This parasite is usually dormant throughout the life of its host, so most people have no symptoms or even know they are infected.
The most affected patients by these parasites are pregnant women, as the protozoan can reach the placenta and cause fetal malformation and even miscarriage - so it is good for pregnant women to avoid changing cat litter. . Other vulnerable people are patients with low immunity, such as HIV carriers and transplant recipients.
3 - Echinococcus multilocularis
This type of solitaire is more common in North America and Europe, making foxes and rodents their favorite hosts, and can also settle in dogs and cats. When it infects humans, it is responsible for the condition known as alveolar echinococcosis, which produces cysts in various internal organs.
These cysts, in turn, are able to reproduce and spread rapidly, which can cause the death of the patient who does not receive medical treatment.
2 - Echinococcus granulosus
Here's another protozoan, but a bit smaller than seen so far: it measures between three and seven micrometers only. They are worms that usually lodge in dogs or sheep. Humans can become infected by accidentally ingesting eggs of these protozoa, present in the feces of carrier animals.
Another form of contamination is through the consumption of foods that have had direct contact with contaminated soil. It must be understood that the eggs of these worms are extremely hardy and can be preserved for months even when frozen.
More than 1 million people are estimated to be infected with Echinococcus granulosus each year, especially in regions where livestock have contact with dogs.
Once the host eats protozoan eggs, the first affected organ is the liver, and then numerous cysts will spread throughout the body and only cause further problems years after contamination. These cysts contain numerous highly infectious larvae and, once they rupture spontaneously, can cause a fatal shock.
1 - Taenia solium
This is the most famous solitaire of roundworms, and it can reach up to 10 meters as an adult, which makes it one of the largest worms of all. Humans are infected by loners usually through pork, which may have tiny larvae of this worm; When not fully cooked, the parasites eventually reach the digestive system, where they grow and feed on the food we eat.
Diseases related to this worm mainly include malnutrition and, in case of ingestion of eggs instead of larvae, the thing can get even more serious as this can cause cysticercosis, which mainly harms the central nervous system, giving rise to epileptic seizures and other motor problems. Taenia solium is considered the major cause of epilepsy in poor regions of the world.