written by: Harry Sylvester•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 5/24/2011
Human parasites are dangerous to your health because they can result in many health problems. By learning blood tests for human parasites, you might consider undergoing those tests if your doctor recommends them.
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Human parasites invade and survive in human body, consuming the same nutrients in human body as well. Human parasites will damage vital tissues and living cells in the human body. As human parasites are around us, they can contract us easily. You can get infected with human parasites by going barefooted, consuming raw meats (beef, pork) and fish, drinking unboiled water, getting insect bites, having sexual conduct or through the nose and skin, etc. Blood tests for human parasites can be performed to identify parasites.
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Human Intestinal Parasites
Microscopic protozoa, amoebae, parasitic worms and flukes are several human parasites. Humans might be contracted with protozoa and amoebae through food and water intake, animals, and human contact. When humans consume raw meat, they can get infected with parasitic worms easily.
Below are several human intestinal parasites that may attack us anytime:
Giardia lamblia is the protozoan parasite that lives in the small intestine or gall bladder. Water and fecal contamination are the means that may spread this human parasite quickly. You might find Giardia in unboiled water, so if you consume unboiled water, you might have stomachache or diarrhea.
Cryptosporidium refers to the protozoa that survive in the digestive tract leading to gastrointestinal infection. Like Giardia lamblia, cryptosporidium can infect you through raw foods and unboiled water intake. Diarrhea and stomachache are the common symptoms of cryptosporidium.
Necator americanus (hookworms)
Hookworms enter humans through water or fruits and vegetables. When you consume them, hookworms will cling to the intestine and feed on blood. Symptoms you may have include diarrhea, nausea, and stomachache.
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Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworms)
The eggs of roundworms are in the fruits, vegetables, and in the soil. They enter human body when humans eat uncooked and raw food. Then roundworms might circulate through the blood, causing infections. The common symptoms of roundworms are stomachache and weight loss.
Clonorchis sinensis (liver fluke)
Liver fluke is a flat worm surviving inside human body for many years. The larvae enter human body through consuming raw vegetables, freshwater fish, and water. Liver fluke then reach human liver leading to inflammation. You might suffer from pain and an infected liver.
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Blood Tests for Human Parasites
Thanks to medical science, blood tests for human parasites enable us to identify parasite in the human body. Here are some of them.
Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) Test
Also known as EIA or enzyme immunoassay, ELISA test is a technique to detect if an antibody or an antigen exists in a sample. An antigen, which refers to any substance that makes your immune system produce antibodies against it, exists in parasites. This test is a serologic test providing detection of parasitic infections caused by human parasites.
Blood is taken from a vein and a needle is inserted into the vein. The laboratory will examine the blood sample. Different results may occur among laboratories. A positive result may mean normal result for some people. However, the types of substance examined will lead to abnormal or normal values.
Latex Agglutination Test
Latex agglutination test is one of blood tests for human parasites. The laboratory will examine this test by drawing blood from a vein. Once blood is taken, it is blended with latex beads coated with an antibody or antigen. The latex beads will agglutinate when the human parasite is present. However, the latex beads will not agglutinate when they result in normal values.
Blood smear is performed to determine whether or not human parasites are present in the blood. This test is performed by putting a few drops of blood on a microscope slide, and then they are examined under a microscope to diagnose the problem.
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The American Academy of Family Physician: Common Intestinal Parasites - http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0301/p1161.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Diagnosis of Parasitic Diseases - http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/public/geninfo_diagnosis_diseases.htm
Applied Ozone Systems: Human Intestinal Parasites Worms - http://www.appliedozone.com/parasites.html