Parasites are infectious agents that live in symbolic relationships with their host.
This term is defined as organisms that live in or on a host organism. Parasites get their food from the host while also causing harm to the host.
TYPES OF PARASITES
There are two main types of human parasites that are ectoparasites and endoparasites.
a) HUMAN ECTOPARASITES
This term is defined as the parasites that live outside of the human body and still cause some harm to it. Examples are arthropods such as bed bugs, fleas, lice, etc.
Ectoparasites are further categorized into two major groups that are listed below.
- Parasitic Arachnids: Mites and ticks
- Parasitic Insects: lice, fleas, tsetse flies, and mosquitoes.
b) HUMAN ENDOPARASITES
This term is defined as the parasites that live inside of the human body and cause various diseases in humans. Examples are hookworms, protozoa, etc.
Endoparasites are further categorized into other groups by transmission route. They need a carrier or vector without which they cannot survive.
- Protozoa: Protozoa need vectors such as mosquitoes and fleas.
- Helminthes: These are worms that need an intermediate host for transmission. Humans consume contaminated water and food and this is how eggs are transmitted to the human body.
EXPOSURE ROUTES FOR HUMANS
The exposure route of parasites to humans depends on the type of parasites. Some parasites need sources for transmission to the human body.
- Ectoparasites: Exposure route for ectoparasites to humans include human outer skin and orifices.
- Endoparasites: Exposure routes for endoparasites to humans include blood transfusion, fecal-oral route, and human outer skin.
EFFECTS OF HUMAN ECTOPARASITES AND ENDOPARASITES
Some general effects include abdominal pain, rashes, nausea, headache, skin bumps, diarrhea, fever, etc.
Ectoparasites could be the direct cause of serious diseases in humans and sometimes ectoparasites transmit endoparasites to the human body.
The effects of human ectoparasites are listed below with examples.
|Serial No.||Ectoparasites||Human Diseases|
|1.||Lice||Relapsing Fever, Trench Fever, and Typhus Fever|
|2.||Ticks||Hemorrhagic fever, Lyme disease, Encephalitis,|
|3.||Scabies/ Mites||Rheumatic Fever, Renal Disease, Skin Infections,|
|4.||Mosquitoes||Dengue Fever, Malaria, Encephalitis|
|5.||Fleas||Spotted Fever, Typhus Fever, Plague|
The effects of human endoparasites are listed below with examples.
|Serial No.||Endoparasites||Human Diseases|
|2.||Roundworm||Ascariasis, Toxocariasis, Trichinosis|
|5.||Onchocerca volvulus||River Blindness|
|6.||Trematode worm/ blood fluke||Schistosomiasis|
PRECAUTIONS TO HUMAN ECTOPARASITES AND ENDOPARASITES
The treatment of human ectoparasites and endoparasites is generally related to hygiene. Humans can adopt precautionary measures in order to avoid diseases caused by parasites.
- Eat only well-cooked food/seafood and avoid junk food.
- Use Insect repellent creams, lotions, and sprays for vectors such as mosquitoes.
- Avoid swimming in pools, lakes that might be contaminated with parasites.
- Be conscious of hygienic conditions.
- Drink water from sealed bottles only.
In extreme cases, medical facilities should be availed to get rid of health diseases caused by parasites.
Parasites are unpleasant creatures that can cause various health problems in humans. The discomfort, pain, itchy skin, rashes, skin bumps are few common visible symptoms that indicate there is something wrong with the human body. Direct contact with contaminated soil, water, food are sources of disease transmission to humans. Hygiene is the most favorable solution to parasites. One must keep oneself clean and prevent eating contaminated food.
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– MS Environmental Science
– Content Writer
Researcher, Nature Lover, and Environmentalist