Parasites are organisms that live and feed on a living host. There are many types of parasites that can live in the human body. These include flatworms, roundworms, and hookworms (duckhead worms).
In rural and developing areas, the risk of parasitic infection is high. The risk increases in areas where food and drinking water are contaminated and sanitation is not met.
Read on to learn more about parasites and how to avoid becoming an unwitting host.
Types of insects that can cause infection
When it comes to parasitic infections, flatworms and roundworms are the culprits. Both of these types of parasites can be found in a variety of habitats. They are not always visible to the naked eye.
You can get tapeworms, a type of flatworm, by drinking water contaminated with tapeworm eggs and larvae. Raw or undercooked meat is another way for tapeworms to enter humans.
The maggots embed their heads in the intestinal wall and remain there. From there, certain types of tapeworms can lay eggs that mature into larvae that migrate to other parts of the body.
Tapeworms look like long white ribbons. They grow up to 80 feet and can live inside humans for up to 30 years.
Another type of flatworm. Animals are more susceptible to infection than humans.
Raw oysters and other freshwater plants are a major source of volatile diseases in humans. You can also get them when you drink contaminated water.
They make their homes in the intestines, blood, and tissues. There are different varieties and they are no more than a few inches long.
Hookworms are a type of roundworm that spreads through dense or contaminated soil. The most common way to come into contact with this type of roundworm is to walk barefoot on soil that contains hookworm larvae. Larvae can puncture the skin.
Hookworms live in the small intestine and attach to the intestinal wall by “hooks”. They are usually less than half an inch long.
Pinworms, also called threadworms, are small, fairly harmless roundworms. When fully mature, it lives in the colon and rectum. The female lays eggs around the anus, usually at night.
Eggs can live in bedding, clothing and other materials. People get pinworm infection by touching the eggs and putting them in their mouths. The eggs are so small that they can be inhaled if released into the air.