Adult Health

5 Human Parasites You Should Know About

Written by andy

Human parasites are the worst, aren’t they? These are the ones you need to watch out for.

The human body is a truly amazing thing! There are so many internal functions, systems, and organs that keep your body running. However, there’s a lot about our bodies that many OTHER creatures find delightful as well. We have lots of warm, moist crevices, such as our ears, our armpits, our mouths, our feet, and even our genitals. These places play host to bacteria, fungi, and sometimes–if we’re not careful–a few parasites.

Here are a few of the scariest human parasites you should know about:

  • Guinea Worm — Also known as Dracunculiasis medinensis, the Guinea worn is a type of roundworm that can be ingested when drinking unclean water. If the water is untreated, it may contain Cyclops fleas that have been infested with GW larvae. Roughly a year after drinking the water, blisters form. When they are popped, millions of larvae are released to be eaten by other Cyclops flies. The ulcer caused by the GW infestation is very painful and debilitating. If not treated, the ulcer can be infected by bacteria, leading to blood poisoning.
  • Giardia –– Also known as Giardia duodenalis, Giardia is one of the most common parasites to affect mankind. The parasite is usually ingested via untreated water or food that has been contaminated with infected feces–a problem that’s a lot more common than you’d think, particularly in developing countries. The parasite can even be spread from person to person. The Giardia parasite will multiply in the small intestine, forming cysts and potentially causing giardiasis. This is an intestinal illness that can cause fatigue, weight loss, excess flatulence, abdominal cramps, and pale diarrhea. Of all the human parasites out there, this one may be the easiest to spread, and our editor had a bad experience with it at a spa last year.

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  • Filarial Worm –– This is a number of different types of roundworms that live in subcutaneous and lymphatic tissue. These worms can cause lymphatic filariasis, which occurs when microfilariae get into your bloodstream. If the parasites get into the lymphatic system, they can cause swelling, fluid retention, and reduce lymphatic function. Due to the fact that they live in subcutaneous tissue, they can be absorbed by mosquitoes and passed on to other humans.
  • Human botfly — Also known as Dermatobia hominis, this is a type of parasite that can be contracted via mosquito. Human botflies capture ticks and mosquitoes and lay eggs on their bodies. When the biting insects get a taste of human blood, the parasite eggs penetrate skin. They can feed on your subcutaneous tissue for up to 10 weeks, after which time  they mature and erupt. You will usually notice a boil-like infection on the site where you have been bitten. You may need to surgically remove the maggot, or use KY/petroleum jelly to smother the airhole through which the maggots are breathing. Do this, and the maggot will usually pop out on its own. Ew!
  • Vandellia Cirrhosa — Men, prepare to be terrified! This is a type of tiny catfish that lives in the Amazon. It is tiny, shorter than 2 inches in length, but it attaches onto larger fish in order to suck their blood. These little fish have been reported to swim up the urethra (you know, your pee hole) of men who wear loose bathing suits. While many believe this to be nothing more than myth, it’s probably not something you want to risk! Obviously one of the worst human parasites of all time.

Pretty scary and gross, right? It’s amazing how many outside parasites and worms will make the human body their home! I wonder what it is that makes us so delicious to these nasty little things…

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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