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Intestinal parasites are parasites that populate the gastro-intestinal tract in humans and other animals.[1] They can live throughout the body, but most prefer the intestinal wall. Means of exposure include: ingestion of undercooked meat, drinking infected water, and skin absorption.

The major groups of parasites include protozoans (organisms having only one cell) and parasitic worms (helminths). Of these, protozoans, including cryptosporidium, microsporidia, and isospora, are most common in HIV-infected persons. Each of these parasites can infect the digestive tract, and sometimes two or more can cause infection at the same time.

Infection

Parasites can get into the intestine by going through the mouth from uncooked or unwashed food, contaminated water or hands, or by skin contact with larva infected soil. When the organisms are swallowed, they move into the intestine, where they can reproduce and cause symptoms. Children are particularly susceptible if they are not thoroughly sterilized after coming into contact with infected soil that is present in environments that they may frequently visit such as sandboxes and school playgrounds. People in developing countries are also at particular risk due to drinking water from sources that may be contaminated with parasites that colonize the gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms

A list of common symptoms:[2]

In some people, intestinal worms do not cause any symptoms, or the symptoms may come and go. If you have some of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you are infected. This symptoms are also signs of other diseases. Common signs and complaints include coughing, cramping abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. In more serious infections, diminished sex drive, skin-itching, fever, nausea, vomiting, or bloody stools may occur. Some parasites also cause low red blood count (anemia), and some travel from the lungs to the intestine, or from the intestine to the lungs and other parts of the body. Many other conditions can result in these symptoms, so laboratory tests are necessary to determine their cause.

In children, irritability and restlessness are commonly reported by parents.

References

  1. ^ Loukopoulos P, Komnenou A, Papadopoulos E , Psychas V. Lethal Ozolaimus megatyphlon infection in a green iguana (Iguana iguana rhinolopa). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2007; 38:131-134
  2. ^ Dariel jackson. Cleanse and Purify Thyself Book One. Medford, Oregon: Christobe Publishing 2007.
  • Zuk, Marlene. Riddled with Life. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Inc 2007







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