What Are Some Internal Parasites?


Quick Answer

There are two types of parasites that can live in humans, according to the CDC: protozoa, which are microscopic, single-celled organisms; and helminths, which are multi-celled organisms that are usually visible to the naked eye, such as worms. Ectoparasites are parasites that live on humans and occasionally burrow inside the skin.

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What Are Some Internal Parasites?
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Full Answer

Protozoa live in the blood or tissue of their human hosts. The CDC details several varieties of protozoa, including Giardia, which cause digestive disorders such as diarrhea and gas; Cryptosporidium, which cause fever, diarrhea, nausea and migraines; Leishmania, which can infect and cause sores of the skin, or infect internal organs such as the spleen, liver and bone marrow; and the various types of plasmodia that cause malaria. Helminths include flatworms, such as flukes and tapeworms, thorny-headed worms, and roundworms, which live in various parts of the host as they pass through different stages of their development, states the CDC. The most common helminths in the United States include pinworms, tapeworms and roundworms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ectoparasites that can live on humans include ticks, lice, mites and fleas. Parasites can be transmitted through contact with an infected person or animal, and from contaminated feces, soil, food or water, according to UMMC.

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