Parasitic Diseases

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A parasite lives on or in a host organism. A host organism can be any animal or human. Billions of people are affected by parasites each year. . Parasites can cause infection and disease in the host organism. Some parasitic diseases are easily treated. Others can be life threatening. There are three main classes of parasites that cause disease in humans:
  • Protozoa.
  • Helminths.
  • Ectoparasites.

Protozoa and helminthes are often called “endoparasites.” Endo means “inside.” These parasites live inside the body of the host. Ectoparasites are parasites that live on the surface of the host. “Ecto” means “outside.” Ectoparasites may live on the skin and feed on the blood of humans or other animals. The next three sections talk about the main classes of parasites. Each section also provides examples of common types of parasitic diseases.




Parasites, parasitic diseases, host organism, Protozoa, Helminths, Ectoparasites, endoparasites, Malaria, Giardia infections, Toxoplasmosis, Pinworms, Hookworms, Strongyloidiasis, Scabies, Head or pubic lice, Tick bites, Lyme disease

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Last modified: July 15, 2013