Posted in Monday Mayhem

Top 10 Most Horrifying Parasites

Welcome to Monday Mayhem where today, I will be talking about parasites. I was browsing YouTube the other day and came upon a video that’d caused me to delve deeper into the creepy world of parasites. The video goes by the name 10 Horrifying Parasites That Might Be Living Inside You. As I watched, a thought passed through my mind and it went something like this: With all these terrifying parasites on the loose, it’s a wonder why we don’t have zombies running around wreaking havoc on the planet.

Leishmania [Photo credit: CDC Public Health Image Library]
Leishmania [Photo credit: CDC Public Health Image Library]
If you haven’t seen the video, here’s a breakdown of its contents. You may want to hold your stomach, as these may get gruesome in description.

10. Leishmania—Transmitted by sandfly bites, this parasite can cause hideous and painful sores. Up to two hundred lesions can form on the body leading to disability and scars. [Source: WHO]

9. Loa Loa—Lives inside the host for up to seventeen years, moving under the skin and causing swelling. Adult worms visibly move across the surface of the eyes. The treatment can result in personality changes. [Source: CDC, Popular Science]

8. Ascaris Lumbricoides—Over one billion people might be hosting these worms that grow up to thirty five centimeters in length. They can live for two years in the intestine and can block it. Victims often show no symptoms. [Source: CDC]

7. Onchocerca Volvulus—A worm that lives inside humans for fifteen years and grows half a meter (over one and a half feet) long. Disfigures skin and causes “River Blindness” resulting in sight loss. Up to eighteen million people are afflicted. [Source: WHO, CNN]

6. Toxoplasma Gondii—Up to fifty percent of human brains are infected with this this parasite spread by cats. Increases risk taking and depression. It might also explain national cultural differences. [Source: NY Times, Huffington Post, Scientific American]

5. Trypanosoma Brucei—Victims have trouble sleeping, poor coordination and are confused. Often fatal, symptoms of “Sleeping Sickness” can take years to appear when it’s already too late. [Source: WHO]

Entamoeba Histolytica [Photo credit: CDC Public Health Image Library]
Entamoeba Histolytica [Photo credit: CDC Public Health Image Library]
4. Entamoeba Histolytica—One of the biggest parasitic killers on earth, claiming seventy thousand lives annually. Causes disease amoebiasis that can lead to chronic diarrhea and liver abscesses. [Source: New Scientist, CDIPD]

3. Trichuris Trichiura—Resides in the large intestine and is said to infect eight hundred million worldwide. Leads to diarrhea and anemia but in extreme cases the rectum can protrude from the anus. [Source: Scientific American]

2. Wuchereria Bancrofti—Over one billion people are at risk from this parasite that causes Elephantiasis. Victims suffer from enlarged body parts and resulting disability. [Source: WHO]

1. Naegleria Fowleri—Found in freshwater, the “Brain-Eating Amoeba” targets the brain and nervous system. Can cause PAM, a form of meningitis with a ninety-eight percent mortality rate that kills in weeks. [Source: National Geographic, Stanford University, CDC]

Now that you’ve read the Top 10 Most Horrifying Parasites list, it certainly provides another opportunity to look at other Top 10 lists. How about: Top 10 Ways to Kill Parasites? Or this one: Top 10 Cures for Parasites. If those lists exist, I’m sure I’ll be the first one to see what they have to say. For the time being, these Top 10 parasites have left me to wish I hadn’t known about them. Perhaps they have done the same for you.


What other parasites are there that I haven’t mentioned?