Killer Protists

You'll never know until it's too late.

4 Deadly Killers by: Nick Taylor

Malaria, Botflies, schistosome, and threadworms(Strongloides) are the diseases I'm going to be explaining. All are fatal and cause many serious issues for the victim. These are just a few of the many different types of deadly protists living within our earth.

Malaria (Plasmodium Falciparum)

Malaria is transmitted to humans by female mosquitoes typically in the continent of Africa. When an infected mosquito pierces a person's skin to take a blood meal, sporozoites in the mosquito's saliva enter the bloodstream and migrate to the liver. Then the sporozoites reproduce asexually for 8-30 days. After a period in the liver, these organisms produce thousands of merozoites ,which, following rupture of their host cells, escape into the blood and infect red blood cells. Within the red blood cells, the parasites multiply further, again asexually, periodically breaking out of their host cells to invade fresh red blood cells. Several times, such amplification cycles occur.The parasite is protected from attack by the bodys immune system because for most of its human life cycle it stays within the liver and blood cells and is pretty much invisible to immune surveillance. However, circulating infected blood cells are destroyed in the spleen. To avoid this fate, the parasite displays proteins on the surface of the infected blood cells, causing the blood cells to stick to the walls of small blood vessels. Symptoms include, loss of consciousness, significant weakness, breathing problems, kidney failure,and bleeding problems to name a few.

Botfly Larvae (Gasterophilus Intestinalis)

Botflies deposit their larvae on a host we will use humans as an example but anything they find as a worthy host will be infected with these botfly larvae. Larvae from these eggs, stimulated by the warmth of a large mammal host, drop onto its skin and burrow underneath. Then the larvae feed and mature inside the host until dropping out to complete its maturity cycle. Although they dont really cause disease they do cause major pain where ever they were laid and burrowed. Larvae can be removed using multiple techniques such as vasoline where the larvae rise to the top in order to breathe, there they can be removed.

Schistosomaiasis (Schistosoma mansoni)

Symptoms may include: abdominal pains, diarrhea, or blood in the urine, bladder cancer may occur. In children it may cause poor growth and difficulty learning.

Schistosomaiasis has the second highest infection amount at 250 million people. The disease is spread by contact with water that contains the parasites. These parasites are released from snails that have been infected. The disease is especially common among children in poor countries as they are more likely to play in infected water. Other high risk groups include farmers, fishermen, and people using infected water for their daily chores. A way you can know you have this is by finding the eggs of the parasite in a person's urine. This, in humans, mostly affects the digestive and sometimes the respiratory system.

Threadworms (Strongyloides stercoralis)

Threadworms cause a disease called stongyloidaisis. The larvae penetrate the skin when it contacts soil, so walking barefoot isn't the best idea. In the small intestine, they molt twice and become adult femaleworm. The females live threaded in the epithelium of the small intestine and produce eggs, which hatch larvae. Only females will reach reproductive adulthood in the intestine. Female strongyloids reproduce through parthenogenesis. The eggs hatch in the intestine and young larvae are then excreted in the feces. It takes about two weeks to reach egg development from the initial skin penetration.Many people infected are usually asymptomatic at first. Symptoms include dermatitis: swelling, itching, larva currens, and mild holes at the site where the skin has been penetrated. If the parasite reaches the lungs, the chest may feel as if it is burning, and wheezing and coughing may result, along with pneumonia-like symptoms. The intestines could eventually be invaded, leading to burning pain, tissue damage, and ulcers.