Thursday, 27 August 2009

Day 249 - Parasites

“Parasites are organisms that obtain nourishment and shelter from other organisms. In this association, the parasite derives all the benefits, whereas the host may either be unaffected or suffer harmful consequences, with the development of a parasitic disease.

The parasites responsible for these diseases are called obligate if they can live only in association with a host and facultative if they can live either in a host or independently. Furthermore, the parasites vary widely in size and complexity, from relatively simple unicellular protozoans (eg, amebae) to more complex multicellular organisms (eg, worms, flukes).

Parasitic diseases are distributed worldwide, with a higher prevalence in developing countries, especially in areas with inadequate sanitation. Some of these diseases are restricted to tropical and subtropical regions. Parasitic diseases represent one of the most common types of human infection throughout the world and are still the cause of much human morbidity and mortality.

With the growth of global travel there has been a huge increase in the number of tropical infectious diseases diagnosed in the northern hemisphere. 35% of asymptomatic people returning from travel had parasitic infections (ref: Whitty et al 2000).”*


Given that most alternative therapies have pointed to a problem in the gut/liver, the possibility of there being a parasite still very much exists for me, despite the results of the tropical diseases tests I did in Senegal back in February.

Last week I went to the Tropical Diseases Hospital in London; the doctor was delightful - not your typical doctor who gives you a supercilious look as soon as you ask questions and try and further inquire as to what he is doing. This doctor took the time to explain things to me, expounding upon the various kinds of tropical diseases and parasites that exist, which made all the difference.

Curiously, one of the most common tropical diseases that people are afflicted with is schistosomiasis, where worms grow inside the blood vessels and produce eggs. The most common occurrence of schistosomiasis among travellers is acquired when swimming in Lake Malawi.

According to the doctor, neurological symptoms are usually accompanied by lumps - given that I do not have any, it seems unlikely that I am afflicted by a tropical disease. Having said that, the possibility cannot be ruled out because, as the doctor explained, there are numerous other undetected tropical diseases whose symptoms are not yet certain.

I was given three testers and asked to hand in some samples over three days (pots, spatulas, paper trays.. will spare the details). I am now awaiting the results.


  1. what happened?? i have developed a permanent headache for the last month after visiting the amazon...

  2. all clear!

    no sign of any parasites... argh!

  3. I have the worst headache its been going on for two weeks already. no one can figure out why??I just came back from Ugnada 2weeks ago.

  4. I used to have chronic migraine which is very controllable by 25mg amitriptyline for about a month every few years. I've had a headache for a month which wasn't helped by amitriptyline. So I went to the doctor here in Mexico. She gave me three days of vitamine B12 injections in the bum. This drastically lowered the intensity of the headache for about a week. I went back and told her the B12 (B6 and B1) injections worked for a week. She said she suspects parasites and ordered tests for tomorrow morning.

  5. All of the adjectives that you use hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what I am experiencing as well. It is possibly THE worst thing that I have ever gone through in my 24 years of living. It has ruined my life for the past 6-8 months to the point where I was not able to go for a walk (am now being treated)