Canada geese have been causing a public nuisance in town and even nationwide. Walking near the ponds and lakes in Berlin, goose droppings can be seen covering the area. Pictured are Canada geese at Veterans' Park in Berlin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, goose feces may contain parasites and germs that are harmful to humans, such as E. coli, salmonella, campylobacter or cryptosporidium.
Ashley Hyde, a teen from south Florida, almost lost her sight due to a parasite. According to a March 29 report by The Jacskonville Observer, the parasite caused an acanthamoeba infection.
The 18-year-old high school senior went to several doctors before the cause of the redness and throbbing her right eye. Once diagnosed with the acanthamoeba infection, she must have several months of treatment to get rid of the parasite.
The parasite that caused the acanthamoeba infection entered her eye through a poorly cleaned contact lens. It appears Ashley Hyde did not properly clean her contact lens before wearing it.
The parasite, the acanthamoeba, is found in dust, the ocean, swimming pools and tap water. It can be spread through inhalation, wounds on the skin and contact lenses. If the infection had been left untreated, Ashley Hyde could have lost her sight completely or had other permanent visual damage.
Many parasites are satisfied with just living off of their hosts, while others decide their hosts must die. But there are also some parasites who can change their hosts' behavior or physiology in ways fit only for science fiction.
Parasites can be subtle, and you don't need to travel to the jungle to become infected with a parasite. Simply going to the park or hiking in the woods can be enough. Few doctors can recognize common symptoms or problems as parasitic infections.
Anisakis species have complex life cycles which pass through a number of hosts through the course of their lives. Eggs hatch in seawater, and larvae are eaten by crustaceans, usually euphausids. The infected crustacean is subsequently eaten by a fish or squid, and the nematode burrows into the wall of the gut and encysts in a protective coat, usually on the outside of the visceral organs, but occasionally in the muscle or beneath the skin. The life cycle is completed when an infected fish is eaten by a marine mammal, such as a whale, seal, or dolphin. The nematode excysts in the intestine, feeds, grows, mates and releases eggs into the seawater in the host's feces. As the gut of a marine mammal is functionally very similar to that of a human, Anisakis species are able to infect humans who eat raw or undercooked fish.
Hideous parasitic larva Ottoia hæmophaga collected in the Dolores River in Stoner, Colorado attempts to gain entry through the skin of my palm. The smallest cut is enough for it to tunnel its way in with hooked rasps on its mandibles. Then it will make its way into my lymphatic system, ending up in my spleen, where red blood cells are destroyed when they start to get old. Ottoia situates itself in the spleen and consumes colossal amounts of destroyed blood. This parasite can swell to an astounding 343mm and can take up to three years to pupate. Once the worm has attained a threshold size, it chews into the large intestine and defecates, releasing a mild toxin. The host's colon immediately evacuates the toxin and the worm with it. It then crawls into a low, wet space and builds a tough fibrous cocoon. Over the course of a few weeks, its body liquefies, then small paired plates of tissue called imaginal discs activate in each segment. The discs instruct the liquid tissue to re-build itself into a chitinous, segmented creature with ten legs, two sets of antennae, and gills. The adults emerge after the first rainfall of summer and slither through the sleepy streets of Stoner in the starlight. The female Ottoia haemophaga uses her Tömösvary organs to detect large concentrations of mammals, usually bats or hibernating rodents. She requires a blood meal to bring her eggs to full maturity. The closest building to the Dolores River is the Stoner Orphanage. If you're still reading this, I hope you've realized it's a joke. This is actually a cranefly larva, probably Hexatoma, who blundered into my net in the Dolores River in Stoner, Colorado, April 1, 2010.
Today’s anti-parasitic drugs generally remain effective against cattle parasites in the United States, but occurrence of resistant parasites in other countries and in other livestock species, and signs of emergence of resistant populations here, create a need for prevention measures. A new report from the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine provides tips for preventing and detecting such resistance.
According to the report’s authors, part of the problem could be that veterinarians and producers are too successful in reducing parasites in host populations.
The paper outlines the concept of “refugia,” which is a portion of the parasite population not targeted for treatment. When an animal is treated with an anti-parasitic drug, susceptible parasites are killed but some resistant or tolerant individuals are left behind. Those parasites pass their genetic resistance on to their offspring. If all the parasites affecting a herd of livestock are exposed to the drug, resistant parasites eventually could make up the majority of the population.
The refugia concept creates a “refuge” for some parasites by leaving them untreated. The idea is to maintain a population of drug-susceptible parasites to dilute the population of resistant ones. Refuges can include untreated animals, parasite eggs and larvae on pastures when animals are treated and life stages of the parasite not affected by treatment. The authors suggest, for example, that treating just half the herd at one time could reduce parasite loads while helping retain the population’s susceptibility to anti-parasite drugs.
The authors list the following management practices they believe contribute to anti-parasitic resistance:
Treating every animal in the herd.Frequent routine deworming without performing diagnostic tests or determining if treatment is necessary.Deworming when environmental refugia is low.Giving an anti-parasitic drug without knowing if it will be effective on the farm.Using anti-parasitic drugs for unapproved uses, such as to increase weight gain.Relying solely on anti-parasitic drugs to control parasites, rather than changing management practices.
The authors offer these tips for managing anti-parasitic resistance:
Use clinical signs and diagnostic test results to determine which parasites are present on the farm, level of infection and level of resistance, and use the information for management and treatment decisions.Use only anti-parasitic drugs that are effective based on recent diagnostic test results and approved for the particular parasites present on the farm. Always follow the directions on the drug’s label and don’t use anti-parasitic drugs for unapproved uses.Ideally, identify and cull the animals that are the highest fecal egg shedders. Otherwise, target treatment toward animals at greatest risk of illness from parasitic infections.Treat animals when infective larvae are at the highest number on the pasture to maximize environmental refugia. This typically occurs when temperature and humidity are high.When practical, weigh animals to avoid under-dosing anti-parasitic drugs.Maintain adequate treatment records and egg-count reduction results to use in treatment and culling decisions.
Non-treatment management practices that can help reduce parasite infections in herds include:
Quarantining new livestock.Rotating pastures with other livestock species or horses.Dragging or harrowing pastures to break up manure piles.Managing pastures for taller grass during grazing. Most parasite larvae stay within an inch of the ground, so cattle grazing short grass can have more exposure. (Well-managed rotational grazing systems have been shown to reduce parasite loads in cattle.)Reducing stocking density, especially so animals are not forced to graze near manure piles.
The paper also includes a discussion of using fecal egg count reduction tests (FECRT) to monitor treatment efficacy in a herd. This involves examining fecal samples before and after treatment and counting the parasite eggs. Less than a 90 percent reduction could indicate resistance, as can a decline in percent reduction over a series of treatments. The authors note, however, that several biological factors reduce the sensitivity of FECRT in cattle compared with other livestock such as small ruminants.
The paper lists several other available tests to identify resistant parasites, but these tend to be expensive.
The paper is available online from FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Last year, Sierra Veterinary Clinic identified nine new cases, and so far this year we have already diagnosed five. This is significant when you consider that 10 years ago we might have found a case each year or every other year, and mainly in animals that traveled outside the area. Now it is happening with patients that have lived here their entire lives. Two of the patients that were diagnosed so far this year have been on prevention but missed some months.
Why is this a concern for you or your pets?
Unfortunately, a high percentage of dogs and cats remain unprotected or receive preventives inconsistently. Many people do not realize how serious heartworm can be and that their dog or cat can die from it. Others are not aware that it comes from contact with mosquitoes, and that even animals who live primarily indoors can still be exposed. They are also not aware that there is no treatment for cats, and that the treatment for dogs involves using a form of arsenic and can be both risky and expensive ($1,000 to $3,000 depending on the size of the dog). And that the disease is very advanced by the time any symptoms are apparent.
Tapeworm parasites have had their genetic code mined for weaknesses in an effort to find new treatments by UK researchers.
Adult tapeworms tend to cause mild symptoms in people, as they stay in the gut. However, people can get the far more dangerous larval stage of the parasite, which forms cysts throughout the body, including the brain.
I was eating my salmon and after the second I bite I noticed that the the center part of the fish was still kind of raw. I thought I had cooked it well since most of the color changed and the outer part was crispy and I cooked each side for 3 minutes on medium heat in a pan of olive oil.
This was yesterday. Ive been having weird abdominal cramps tonight and I'm literally stressed with anxiety. Do I have parasites?
Additional DetailsI ate around 8 oz of it too :(
I'm actually really scared I might have a tapeworm. It was fresh since I just bought it from Ralphs and cooked it immediately.. I used salt + pepper if that helps :(
A new study published in Ecology Letters by postdoctoral researcher Peter Molnar and ecology and evolutionary biology professor Andrew Dobson outlines a model predicting the survival of parasites in certain regions of the globe as climate change progresses.
While scientists 20 years ago predicted climate change would cause parasitic disease to increase overall, Molnar said his model quantifies the idea that this picture is too simplistic.
“To sum these complications up, it basically depends on what parasite you’re looking at, its life history parameters and where in the world you’re looking,” Molnar explained.
Instead of a universal expansion of parasite populations, Molnar’s model predicts that under the influence of climate change, the future survival of parasites will depend on their thermal niche, or the range of temperatures in which a parasite can survive. Parasites at the low end of their temperature niche will be able to establish novel populations, while mortality will increase in parasites that are living at the high end of their possible temperature range.
Unlike previous models that were limited to analyzing data for a single parasite species, this theory can be applied to any species, Molnar explained.
“If you basically consider that there are 300,000 or more parasites of vertebrates, it will basically be impossible to ever gather enough data to understand climate change in each taxa separately,” Molnar said, referring to the data-gathering limitations on previous models.
Molnar’s theory generalizes parameters for the life cycle of any parasite species based on the metabolic theory of ecology, which establishes the relationship between an organism’s body mass, temperature and metabolic rate. This can be used to determine how the life cycle of a parasite changes with temperature. Scientists can then calculate parasite fitness and determine where species will live as the climate changes.
The team’s model has potential implications for health policy because it can be used to study host-parasite interactions, including parasites with human hosts, associate professor of veterinary medicine Susan Kutz explained.
“It allows us to step back, take a broader prospective and make some broader predictions where health policy can then target their research and mitigation measures,” she said.
The research was conducted in collaboration with Kutz and Ph.D. candidate Bryanne Hoar of the University of Calgary. Kutz and Molnar focused their fieldwork on arctic nematodes with warm-blooded hosts, such as musk oxen. They also analyzed data from 13 other species to show that the postulated activation energy from their model matches the relationship between mortality and development patterns in these species.
The Arctic is a relatively simple system to which the theory can be applied because of the limited biodiversity of the region, Molnar said. Additionally, Kutz explained that this ecosystem will be markedly disrupted by climate change because it is warming faster than any other region, and Arctic hosts have historically had limited exposure to parasites.
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