Being infested with parasites is something that you associate with people from faraway places. However, parasites that infect humans are a lot more common than you think. To add to this, a lot of them have no symptoms either, so a person can go years without knowing they’re infected.
Around 60% of the world’s population has at least one parasite in them right now. That’s correct, there’s more than a 50/50 chance that you have one inside you right now. Below you’ll find 8 common asymptomatic parasites that could be a lot nearer to you than you could ever have imagined.
Do you like to eat you steak rare? Well, tapeworms, which can grow up to 15 meters long, get inside their human hosts from raw or undercooked meats. These parasites love to live in peoples’ intestines and are transferred from animals, mostly cows and pigs. This happens either through the consumption of infected meat or unwashed veggies.
If you digest a tapeworm larva, it can live inside you for almost 30 years, feasting off your intestinal wall. The tapeworm’s eggs can be dangerous as they can develop into cysts on vital organs.
Hookworms enter their human host through the feet, sometimes leaving itchy rashes at their entry point. They will then travel along the bloodstream until they reach the lungs. Once at the lungs, they irritate the lung tissue enough that the infected host starts coughing them up. If they then get swallowed, the hookworm has reached its desired home: the small intestine.
This parasite is more prominent in poor countries as it’s can be easily transferred from person to person through feces. If infected feces isn’t managed properly or spread in the soil, it can easily affect others. Being infected by hookworms can cause lethargy and mental incapacity.
This is a roundworm infestation that attacks the small intestine. It is usually spread through undercooked meat or exposure to human feces, but it can also be spread by direct contact with a contaminated human.
Children are at higher risk of getting infected as they have a greater tendency to stick their hands in their mouths. They can cause bloated stomachs and pain, but mostly they just live in your stomach until they are ready to be expelled from the body.