Parasitic Infection - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Parasitic Infection - Medical Malpractice

Parasitic infections are among the most common infections in the entire world. They are more common in rural areas or in developing countries than they are in cities or industrial areas. They can migrate from healthy person to healthy person but are more common in the immunosuppressed. They have a life cycle that often includes animal feces that are inadvertently taken in by humans or meat that is undercooked and taken in by human beings. They usually enter the body via the mouth or the skin. Travelers to developing countries also get parasites quite often.

A parasite is an organism which can be single-celled, more complex than single celled or worm-like organisms that live within the host and which harm the host by feeding off of it. They are common in Asia, Africa or Latin America and not too common in the North American regions or in Europe. Immigrants with poor immune systems can have parasites in industrialized countries. Infections can spread around nursing homes and daycare centers.

Parasites that are swallowed can remain inside the intestinal tract or can borrow through the intestinal wall and travel through the bloodstream to other organs. They can also bore directly through the soles of your feet when you walk or through other parts of the skin when the person swims in contaminated water.

Parasites that infect the human body include amoebas (protozoa), which are one celled organisms, worms (such as helminths like tapeworms, round worms and hook worms) which are bigger and contain complex body systems and many cells. They can reproduce like bacteria or can reproduce by means of laying eggs that develop in the same or different environment that they first came to be produced in. There can be one or more intermediate host animals. Some have complicated life cycles that involve insects as vectors.

Protozoan infections are among the leading causes of death and disease in the world. It is difficult to get rid of parasites because many insects that are intermediate hosts become immune to pesticides and pesticides can damage the environment or other animals. There are no vaccines to prevent against getting parasitic diseases. Even medications to treat parasitic infections are fraught with resistances to these drugs.

Symptoms of parasitic infections are many. You can get constipation if you have a worm that is blocking the digestive tract. A great many worms can block the common bile duct and lead to gallbladder symptoms. Diarrhoea can also happen because protozoa secrete a prostaglandin substance that produces frequent watery diarrhoea. It is connected with heavy gas and bloating from parasites that induce inflammation in the intestinal tract that creates these symptoms. It is made worse when you consume difficult to digest foods like beans and raw fruits or vegetables. You can get persistent abdominal distension from the parasite inflaming the digestive tract. All of these symptoms can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, with constant inflammation, coating of the intestinal wall, and resultant malabsorption and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Parasites such as Trichomonas can invade the muscle and encyst within the muscle fibres. This leads to joint and muscle pain that comes from the parasite. The muscle becomes inflamed and it is difficult to function until the larvae are killed.

Anaemia is another parasitic symptom, especially common in malaria. The parasite can also attach itself to the abdominal wall and can suck blood from your system so you become anaemic. You can also become allergic to the parasite and can generate large amounts of IgE in the system, which is the antibody related to allergies and allergic reactions. You can get skin rashes or difficulty breathing from this type of inflammation. Hives and other rashes are not uncommon as are weeping eczema and other allergic skin reactions. Cutaneous ulcers are a part of the skin reaction to the parasite. Granulomas on the skin or elsewhere on the body are tumour-like lesions that have destroyed parasites or parasitic eggs. They can be found in the intestines primarily but can be in other body areas.

Parasites release toxic waste that can make a person nervous or restless. It can cause sleep disturbances such as insomnia or frequent wakening. It can cause teeth grinding or bruxism at night or even during the day as a nervous habit. Chronic fatigue is a common complication of parasitic infections and it can feel as though you have the flu. Fatigue is generally directly related to the infestation or to malabsorption of vitamins A and B12.

Immune function can become impaired with parasitic infections. Parasites can suppress the immunity so that you are more prone to getting infections of other sorts.

The treatment of parasitic infections can be difficult. There are anti-helminthic drugs like mebendazole that take care of worms. Other parasitic medications can be used to block the life cycle and kill off the parasites.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here