The most frequent parasites and the most used antiparasitics

In this blog we will talk about the most frequent parasites and antiparasitics commonly used in Colombia. Here you will find which are the most common parasites, how the person can be infected, who have more risk to be infected and which are the most widely used antiparasitics.

Content

  1. How common are parasite infections?
  2. Who is most at risk of getting a parasite infection?
  3. What are the most common parasites?
  4. What symptoms could I have if I have parasites?
  5. What are the most used antiparasitics?
  6. What adverse effects can I have from using antiparasitics?

1. How common are parasite infections?

According to the WHO worldwide, the parasite Ascaris lumbricoides infects more than 1,000 million people, Trichuris trichiura 795 million and hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus) about 740 million. Therefore, all together there are approximately 2.5 billion infected people worldwide.

Below we can see some photos of these parasites:

Ascaris lumbricoides

Source: https://comunidad-biologica.com/un-resumen-didactico-sobre-ascaris-lumbricoides/ 

Trichuris trichuria

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/esp_imagepages/1007.htm 

Ancylostoma duodenale

Source: http://www.info-farmacia.com/microbiologia/uncinaria-del-viejo-mundo-ancylostoma-duodenale 

Necator americanus

Source: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-540-48996-2_2077 

2. Who is most at risk of getting a parasite infection?

Those people who live in warm and humid climates that favor the life cycle of these parasites. Especially people in a vulnerable condition whose homes have dirt floors, do not wear shoes, do not have access to health services, drinking water and / or sewage, likewise those with inadequate waste management.

3. What are the most common parasites?

It depends on the region of the world where you live. For Colombia the most common are Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus. Anyone can get infected by ingesting eggs from soil, water, or food contaminated with fecal matter, or by penetration through the skin of larvae in the soil.

Below you can see a parasite entering a person through the skin.

Source:https://peru21.pe/ciencia/10-aterradores-parasitos-invadir-cuerpo-humano-fotos-464561-noticia/ 

4. What symptoms could I have if I am infected with parasites?

The symptoms depend on the type of parasite and not all symptoms can appear at the same time in the person, the most common symptoms and signs are: Diarrhea, abdominal pain, general malaise, weakness, meteorism (abundant amount of flatulence), anemia, growth retardation and in extreme cases intestinal obstruction.

5. What are the most commonly used antiparasitics?

Anthelmintics are the most widely used antiparasitics for people. Each of the anthelmintics works differently so your physician should be the one who determines which one to use, the most frequent are:

  • Albendazole: Useful for infections by Taenia solium, Echinococcus, Ancylostoma duodenale, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Necator americanus, Enterobius vermicularis and Toxocariasis. As a recommendation, it should be consumed with food.
  • Mebendazole: Useful for Enterobius vermicularis, Giardiasis, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus, Toxocariasis.
  • Praziquantel: Schistosomiasis, Cysticercosis, Cysticercosis, Taenia solium, Taenia saginata
  • Ivermectin: Strongyloidiasis, Onchocerciasis, Filariasis, Scabies

6. What adverse effects can I have from using antiparasitics?

Anthelmintics are very safe, their adverse events are very rare and tend to be short-lived, the mos frequente include malaise, nausea, vomiting, headache, and loss of appetite.

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