What Are Some Parasites That Live in Humans?


Quick Answer

Some parasites that can live in humans are different types of worms and protozoa, as noted by the University of Maryland Medical Center. The types of worms, which can live in the gastrointestinal region, can include pinworms and tapeworms. Parasitic infections can cause many different symptoms.

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Parasites are organisms that feed or live off of a living host. Types of parasitic organisms, which can affect humans, are protozoa. These organisms are one-celled and can multiple inside humans. In the United States, the main types of protozoa found in humans are giardia and cryptosporidium, as noted by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Transmission of these types of parasitic infections occur by coming into contact with food, water or soil that is contaminated with infected fecal matter, as noted by the University of Rochester Medical Center. Some symptoms of protozoa infections are diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

There are eight types of helminths that can live inside humans, according to Scientific American. These are pinworms, tapeworms, trichinella (roundworm type), lymphatic filariae, schistosomiasis, whipworms, roundworms and hookworms. When people eat contaminated or uncooked pork meats, they can become infected with either tapeworms or trichinella. Tapeworms can reach a length of 20 feet Tapeworms can also travel from the small intestine to other parts of the body, such as the eyes and brain.

Pinworms live in the colon and rectum, while lymphatic filariae are found in the lymphatic vessels. Whipworms tend to inhabit the large intestines and can cause symptoms, such as anemia and diarrhea. Hookworms and roundworms can migrate to different areas of the body, including the lungs. This can cause symptoms, such as coughing and breathing problems.

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