Killer Protists

Protists and Human Diseases

Most Protists that cause disease are animal like Protists, or protozoa. Protozoa can make us sick when they become human parasites.


Malaria is a parasitic disease that involves high fevers, shaking chills, flu like symptoms and anemia. The protist that causes Malaria is called plasmodium. Treatment includes various medicine that vary depending on where needs to be treated, fluids through HIVs, and breathing medicine support may be needed.

Chagas disease

Chagas' disease is most common in South America. Chagas' disease is caused by a Protozoa called Trypanosoma parasites. Symptoms include fever, general ill feeling, and swollen red area at site of the insect bite. Treatment for this disease are 2 drugs called benznidazole and nifurtimox.


Leishmaniasis is transmitted by sand flies in Africa, causing ulcers on the skin and internal organs; if untreated, it is fatal within two years. The protist that causes this disease is called leishmania.


Giardiasis is caused by drinking contaminated water usually from a lake or a stream. The protist that causes this disease is called Giardia. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, stomach pains, and fatigue.