Top 10 parasitic infections

Updated on 11 May, 2012 at 11:13 am


Parasites are organisms that are able to live off another organism. The many different types of parasites that affect us every day are both harmful and harmless. There are some parasites that also share a symbiotic relationship between them and the host. Some parasites are also very dangerous and cause many different forms of illnesses and other symptoms. Here we look at some of the most disgusting and dangerous parasites for humans.

10. Tapeworm:

This is a parasite that is virtually undetectable. It usually enters humans through undercooked meat or fish. Major symptoms are stomach upset, infections in rare cases and a general loss of appetite. While they can also propagate in the body to other parts and can even cause death in extreme cases. They have also been known to travel to the brain of a person causing various symptoms.

9. Bot Fly Larva:

This particular species of fly deposits its larva on the skin surface of hosts and the larva hatch and burrow into the skin. The larva does not cause any major damage to the body except in some cases where the infection gets serious. These larvas have been known to borrow deep into the body and even eat up ovaries or testes of an organism. It can be extracted by hand if there is an infection by smoking it out of its residing place.

8. Ascaris:

Ascaris worms are among the most common parasitic infections around. The infection occurs in places where hygiene issues exist. The worms find their way into the intestine and the lungs most commonly but have also been found in other parts of the body. The worms cause many different effects depending on the worms are also passed out in human feces.


7. Onchocerciasis:

Commonly known as River Blindness, it is a common infectious disease that occurs in many parts of the world. The worms of the Black Fly can find their way into a human body and live in it for up to 15 years in certain cases. The worms are able to survive in different parts of the body and when they die, it can cause deadening of cells and tissues in the area where they die. Most commonly it affects the eye of a person whereby they go blind after such an infection.

6. Filariasis:

This is a disease that is caused by worms which are carried on by carriers like mosquitoes and houseflies. These thin threadlike worms occupy the lymph nodes once inside the body and serious cases of this can cause a condition known as Elephantiasis which causes an abnormal enlargement of affected areas.

5. Guinea Worm:

The Guinea worm is a dangerous parasite that is found in water fleas. This parasite hatches itself in the digestive tracts of a person and moves to the extreme ends of the hands or feet. Once there, it begins to feed, growing in some cases up to a length of 5 feet. This worm can cause severe pain and in some cases crippling too.

4. Cutaneous leishmaniasis:

This infection of the skin is caused by a very small fly that are able to exist in human occupied areas. The very small organism can pass through most areas and its bite causes a small sore on the skin that is very painful. Untreated this could easily get infected and cause even death in some cases.

3. Screw-worm fly:

This is a common parasite among cattle and livestock. It occurs when the screw worm fly lays its eggs over an open wound or a scratch. Once the larva hatches, it feeds on the surface of the open area of the skin and this can cause a very severe infection. Animals usually die because of the infections but are more controlled in humans.

2. Sleeping Sickness:

This is a very dangerous parasitic infection that is only found in Sub Saharan Africa. It is known to be very dangerous in most cases as there is literally no way of telling a person is infected as symptoms rarely occur early on. The bite of an infected tsete fly causes this rapid infection which can lead to death if not treated quickly. The infection in its first stage itself causes fever, headache and pain in the joints.


1. The Brain Eating Amoeba, Naegleria:

Occasionally found in fresh water areas in the Southwestern parts of America, this amoeba can make a home in a person’s brain. It enters through the mouth and nose through the water and can severely damage brain tissues. Its rapid progress is something to be fearful of as it can cause death within a month of the infection beginning.

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