For more detailed information, see my "Prey" and "Parasites" pages.
What's a parasite? A parasite is a worm that can live in your intestines and is spread to other parts of the body, including the eyes, skin and lungs. Parasites affect people in many different ways, but the most common symptoms are abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea. How common are parasitic diseases? There are hundreds of different parasitic diseases, some common and some not, and each is different. Some people may have only a few symptoms, but if left untreated can be serious, and can even lead to death. In the US, over a hundred parasitic diseases are spread by contaminated food, water or medical equipment. It's also important to know that many parasitic diseases are also contagious, and can be passed from person to person. In the United States, parasites that affect children are most common in areas where water and food are contaminated with human sewage. Parasitic disease can be found in many places in the world, including Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and South America, and is especially common in Africa and the Middle East. For example, malaria and other parasitic diseases are prevalent in Madagascar, Bangladesh, and Kenya, where many people live in extreme poverty.