Like it or not, we're all a walking colony of microscopic monsters. Want to know the gory details? Get the awful truth on the creatures that call you home.
You cannot always see parasites - but a whopping 75% of the world’s creatures are parasitic. The average human is known to host over a million of them!
If you don’t have at least one kind of worm residing in your guts, you’re in the minority. Over three-quarters of the world’s population keep them cosy. Though most of them are small, the biggest tapeworm ever recorded was over 60 feet long.
Some parasites are content to feed on you over time. Others are less polite. The dreaded Ebola parasite will, for example, attack internal organs and eat into collagen, which is the connective tissue that holds the human body together.
The good thing about Tapeworms is that they have the decency to stay hidden. Not so the Guinea Worm. Ingested via contaminated water, the larvae burrow into the intestines and eventually emerge, fully grown, from the skin.
As prevalent in the West as anywhere else, Pinworms are staple-sized intestinal blighters that crawl out of your backside while you’re asleep and deposit their eggs on your bedding.
Diseases caused by parasites
Smallpox was officially eradicated in 1980, but did you know that the micro parasites that cause this deadly disease currently lie dormant in the ice of Greenland? Some scientists are worried that global warming could actually free them from captivity.
A staggering 1.3 billion of the world’s population suffer from hookworms, minute monsters that cause anaemia by sucking the blood from the intestinal lining.
The worst parasite of all is the one that causes malaria. Currently killing a person every 30 seconds, malaria has been responsible for over half of all human deaths since the Stone Age.