Infectious Diseases

Common Complications from Parasitic Disease



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This article discusses the common complications of parasitic diseases.  Many areas of the body can be affected by parasitic disease and complications can occur if left untreated.  These complications occur all over the body and begin with symptoms discussed below.  Particular complications occur depending on what area of the body is affected and typically infected from parasitic eggs, larva or worms. 

Many Parasites travel as worms and eggs such as with Schistosomiasis parasitic disease.  Eggs will be carried in stools thus can be transmitted to others if there is accidental ingestion or from poorly cooked foods such as vegetables and meat infected from contaminated rats.   As a result the worms can grow and spread throughout the body such as the Helminth worm.  When infected with parasitic worms; they can sometimes move about where they please which also can cause destruction to the human body itself.

Health conditions noted and discussed particularly in people who travel to endemic areas with parasites in any developmental stage and/ or are immune-compromised.  Some medications are available to treat some parasitic infections and disease.  However, there are little to no immunizations that can be given to prevent them.

Parasites can be acquired through contact with its larva or cercariae in infected freshwaters excluding saltwater found in ocean and can incubate for a couple to few weeks before showing signs and symptoms.  There may be a rash around the area where parasitic larvae or worms attached to the body indicating being infected. 

Some parasitic infections can go without showing signs for years.   However, symptoms can occur rapidly as well causing shutdown through the bodies’ organ systems and blood flow.  ‘Symptoms of parasitic disease are fever, headache, myalgia, and respiratory symptoms as a well’ (Montgomery, 2009).  Some types of parasitic eggs go into blood vessels causing potential complications to the blood flow.  Loss of weight and increased hunger can occur in addition to malnutrition when there is an infestation of worms that also feed on food ingested inside eaten by people. 

Eosinophilia can become present causing abnormal amounts of certain white blood cells within the body. When Parasites are located in the Intestinal area it can adversely affect the liver.  The urinary tract can be affected by eggs causing painful urination or dysuria and blood in urine or hematuria.   

Painful inflammation and enlargement of the liver or spleen can also known as Hepato- and/or splenomegaly can lead to damage of organs and heart failure.  This occurs from preventing adequate blood flow to other organs.  Blood filtration, bacterial removal and white blood cell production diminishes leading to breakdown of the immune system as well.  

References

Montgomery, S. (July 27, 2009).Travelers Health, Yellow Book, Chapter 5 Other Diseases Related to Travel, cdc.gov Retrieved on February 27, 2011 from http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-5/ schistosomiasis.aspx

Wedro, B.C. (December 9th, 2009). Enlarged Spleen (Splenomagaly), MedicineNet.com, Retrieved on February 27th, 2011 from http://www.medicinenet.com/enlarged _sleen_splenomegaly/article.htm

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