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Parasites of Humans

Last updated about 2 years ago

This collection provides information on the many eukaryotic (non-bacterial) creatures that regularly or occasionally parasitize humans. Some of these, such as the blood-borne apicomplexan protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes malaria, are responsible for widespread and severe human suffering and death. Some, such as the free-living amoeba Naegleria fowleri, are not very commonly encountered--but this is little solace to those infected with a parasite such as this one, which is nearly always fatal and can be acquired by putting one's head under water in a hot spring. Some parasites are usually merely annoying, such as Pediculus humanus capitis (head lice). Finally, a few of the organisms included in this collection are not known to harm their host at all (i.e., they are not truly parasites but are commensal, benefiting from their association with the host without harming it).

Much of the core information for the taxon pages included in this collection comes from the Parasites and Parasitic Diseases website at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals with special knowledge of the biology or medical aspects of any of these (or other) human parasites are encouraged to join the Parasites of Humans Community (you need not be a parasite yourself to join) and add articles to the appropriate taxon pages.