Human beings can contract parasites that infect not only organs, joints and muscle tissues, but parasites that infiltrate the blood. In this article, we discuss some of the blood borne parasites in humans of which modern science is aware, and their effects.
Blood Parasites in Humans Known to Science
1. We know of five types of the Schistosoma genre – Schistosoma haematobium, S. mansoni, S. mekongi, S. intercalatum and S. japonicum. This parasite can grow to a length of twenty millimeters and have been found in South America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Middle Eastern territories.
Schistosoma blood parasites lay their eggs in the feces or urine of the infected host. When the host has a bowel movement, and the eggs hatch, the larvae seek a new host, perhaps a snail, where they develop into full-grown parasites, are passed out of the snail, and seek to infect another human via the skin.
Having lived in several tissues on the body, they eventually work their way into the veins, which become their permanent homes. Typically they seek to live in the veins of both the small and large intestines. Of course, the females reproduce and the eggs subsequently progress to the bladder, which explains their presence in both feces and urine.
2. Different genuses of trypanosome brucei are local to different parts of Africa. The blood parasite trypanosome brucei causes sleeping sickness and is borne by the tsetse fly. The fly then bites a human, passing the infection into the bloodstream, where they evolve and invade other body fluids, like spinal fluid. If another tsetse fly bites the host, it would then infect another host with the blood borne parasite, and so the cycle continues.
3. The blood borne parasite Plasmodium causes malaria in humans. The Anopheles mosquito introduces sporozoites into the human body through their bites. These sporozoites develop in the liver, and reproduce into the red blood cells. A side effect of their existence is the disease malaria. A mosquito feeding on an infected host contracts the parasites and passes it on when it feeds, and the sequence begins again.
4. The disease babesiosis derives its name from the parasite Babesia, and two of its species affects humans, namely, babesia microti and babesia divergens. They are typically found across four of the five continents. Two hosts are involved in the infection process. The parasite infects a tick, which in turn bites a human, and so the parasite has found a new host. The Babesia go through their life cycles, pass into the human veins, and make us ill.
Human to human spread is done through blood contact, like transfusions. Babesiosis is often confused with malaria as they affect humans similarly.