Chronic fatigue, skin rashes, digestive problems, frequent “colds”. It may well be a parasitic infection. Let’s figure out how to recognize uninvited guests using laboratory diagnostic methods.
Myth number 1. Pregnant cats and dogs should not be kept, as you can get toxoplasmosis
In fact: NOT AT ALL THIS
The main “hosts” of Toxoplasma ( Toxoplasma gondii ), which belongs to the simplest, are cats, including domestic and stray cats. Oocysts (a special form of the pathogen) of Toxoplasma, which can be harmful to health, are found in the feces of cats and on the fur. Penetrating into the human body, they affect various organs and tissues (liver, spleen, nervous system, eyes, heart myocardium, pulmonary epithelium, skeletal muscles).
Usually, toxoplasmosis occurs in a person without complications. However, for people with weakened immunity and pregnant women, the disease can be a threat. The infection crosses the placenta and can provoke hydrocephalus in the fetus, severe damage to the nervous system, extremities, intrauterine death, or spontaneous abortion.
It is indeed possible to become infected with toxoplasmosis by contact with contaminated cat feces. But in order to become dangerous to humans, Toxoplasma must turn from an oocyst into a larva – the period takes 4-5 days. And this means that daily cleaning of the cat’s litter box, veterinary control of the animal and regular anthelmintic treatment will save you from the parasite. But it is not recommended to stroke homeless animals.
It is important to remember that toxoplasmosis is also transmitted through the consumption of insufficiently heat-treated meat containing cysts (lamb, pork). Therefore, pregnant women are strongly discouraged from eating insufficiently fried pork, lamb (“meat with blood”).
Myth number 2. Toxoplasmosis symptoms are similar to flu symptoms
Infection with toxoplasmosis can be asymptomatic, but quite often in the early stages it causes symptoms similar to the flu (chills, a sharp rise in temperature, etc.). The acute period can end in a few days, or it can take up to several months. Therefore, if it seems to you that you are sick and will not be cured in any way, get tested for toxoplasmosis to eliminate the risk of infection.
Once in the human body, oocysts and tissue cysts of Toxoplasma penetrate into macrophage cells in the intestine and through the blood “travel” throughout the body. Toxoplasma can be fixed in the liver or spleen, lung tissue, muscle tissue of the heart with the formation of clusters. In the body, these accumulations persist for up to several decades, sometimes for life.
The chronic stage of toxoplasmosis is latent and is most dangerous for people with weakened immunity (pregnant women, HIV, hepatitis, chronic inflammation, etc.), as it can cause toxoplasmic encephalitis, which is fatal.
Myth number 3. Common flies carry amoebiosis pathogens
Amoebiosis can be infected through dirty hands, as well as through direct contact with a carrier of cysts (a special form of the pathogen). Common flies are also involved in the spread of cysts; they are mechanical carriers.
Dysentery amoeba ( Entamoeba histolytica ) is ubiquitous. This microscopic protozoan lives both in water and in soil, “survives” on the skin of fruits and vegetables.
Consisting of only one (!) Cell, an amoeba can cause irreparable damage to health. In a weakened body, with infection or hypothermia, it turns into a dangerous pathogenic form. By releasing a special proteolytic enzyme, and causing intestinal ulcers and bleeding, she thereby obtains her “food” – erythrocytes (red blood cells). Therefore, against the background of amoebiosis , anemia and general intoxication often develop.
The habitat in the human body is the lumen of the large intestine and its walls. However, with the blood flow, amoeba can be carried throughout the body and localized in the lungs, brain and even in the skin.
Most often, amoebiosis occurs in countries with hot and warm climates (the Middle East, the countries of Southeast Asia). In this case, it is recommended to follow the simple protection rules:
- – wash your hands and disinfect them;
- – eat peeled vegetables and fruits, without the skin;
- – drink only (!) bottled water.
Myth number 4 Giardiasis affects the gallbladder
Like amoeba cysts, lamblia cysts can maintain their activity for a long time on poorly washed vegetables, fruits, herbs, in water (up to 70 days), and even in dust. Flies can also be a carrier of giardiasis : therefore, in the summer, in the country or on vacation, do not leave food uncovered.
The main targets of lamblia are the gallbladder, duodenum and small intestine. By blocking the mucous membrane, protozoa literally inhibit the normal process of digestion. Food is not digested, processes of decay and reproduction of bacteria and yeast begin.
As a result, the symptoms of intoxication increase, the absorption of nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates – is impaired, which can lead to exhaustion.
Myth No. 5 With a parasitic infection, a person is rapidly losing weight
In fact: NOT AT ALL THIS
With a parasitic infection, symptoms may not be at all or they will not be obvious. The main symptoms that should alert you are recurrent episodes:
- – nausea;
- – diarrhea;
- – stomach ache;
- general state of weakness;
- frequent lack of appetite.
When infected with tapeworms, allergic reactions (rashes, itching of the skin), fever, and neurological problems such as seizures often occur.
With a nematode infection (roundworm, whipworm, trichostrongilida , duodenal crocus , Tominx , nekator), a skin rash, itching, fatigue, a condition characteristic of anemia appears. With trichinosis, swelling of the face is often noticeable, muscle pains, increased photosensitivity are felt, conjunctivitis may occur.
Myth number 6. Eating sushi, sashimi and rolls with fresh fish can become infected with parasitic worms
We don’t want to scare anyone, but raw fish, as well as insufficiently cooked fish, can contain larvae of a wide tapeworm (a type of tape parasitic worm). Once in the small intestine, within 2 months they turn into adults. They live in the body of the “owner” for up to 20 years, reaching up to 10 meters in size.
Worms destroy the beneficial intestinal microflora, which produces folic acid necessary for blood formation, by “eating” vitamin B12. As a result, severe anemia develops.
Myth # 7 Only blood can be donated to diagnose parasites
To diagnose a parasitic infection, blood is used (to detect antibodies to the pathogen) and feces – for microscopic examination for eggs, worms and protozoa. It is carried out in the usual way and by the enrichment method (PARASEP system). The analysis of feces by the enrichment method (PARASEP system) is more sensitive, which makes it possible to identify the most difficult parasites in terms of diagnostics – for example, opisthorchs (very small eggs) and protozoa (amoeba).
Blood is donated on an empty stomach or not earlier than 8 hours after a meal. Before taking blood for half an hour, it is not recommended to smoke, do not drink coffee. You can drink still water.
72 hours before submitting feces for research, exclude the use of laxatives, rectal suppositories, oils, medications that affect intestinal motility (belladonna, pilocarpine, etc.) and the color of feces (iron, bismuth, barium sulfate).
How to prevent a parasitic infection
- – Do not eat raw or undercooked meat of animals and poultry (pork, lamb, etc.);
- – Store meat separately from other foods, even in the freezer;
- – Use separate cutting boards for meat, fish. Disinfect them regularly, and treat the countertops on which you cook these foods;
- – Do not go barefoot in places where the soil can be contaminated with feces;
- – Always wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet !;
- – Rinse vegetables, fruits and herbs well in running water;
- – Limit contact with stray animals.