The blood-borne parasites are usually present globally and typically spend some portion of their lifespan within the blood of a host. The blood-borne parasites can be spread in two ways such as through transfer of infected blood during needle exchange or blood transfusion or transmitted by a vector such as an insect that bites the hosts. Take note that blood-borne parasites can be held accountable for thousands of deaths in developing countries. If you want to learn more about these conditions, read here.
What are the types of parasites?
The renowned plasmodium is responsible for causing malaria. This condition can be fatal and described by high fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.
The Chagas disease is caused by the parasite trypanosome cruzi which enters the blood and stays for an extended period of time, resulting to digestive issues and severe heart problems.
Babesiosis is caused by the Babesia microti parasite which destroys the red blood cells. It causes severe anemia and other blood issues, organ failure, blood clotting issues and even death.
The Leishmania parasites are responsible for causing leishmaniasis. In this condition, the parasites infect the skin which results to the formation of ulcers and can even infect the liver, spleen and bone marrow.
What are the modes of transmission?
It is important to note that parasites can be transmitted through various sources known as vectors. When it comes to malaria, it is easily transmitted to humans through the Anopheles mosquito. The parasites develop in the GI tract of the mosquito and introduced into humans where they reproduce in the red blood cells.
As for Chagas disease, it is transmitted via infected feces of the kissing bug. The insect basically eats blood and drops feces on the host which allows the parasites to enter the skin.
Babesiosis is usually transmitted via the bite of an infected tick. The parasites are already present in the saliva of the tick and transmitted to humans through biting. Leishmaniasis is spread via the bite of an infected sand fly. Take note that the parasites thrive in the stomach of the fly and transmitted once they bite a host for blood.
Diagnosis of the conditions
Diagnosing malaria involves the travel history along with blood tests to check for malaria parasites. Chagas disease is diagnosed by assessing a blood smear for the presence of the parasites.
Babesiosis is diagnosed by observing the blood smear along with PCR or antibody testing. As for leishmaniasis, a sample is taken from the skin ulcers for observation but PCR or antibody testing can be carried out.
Malaria can be avoided by staying away from endemic areas and always use insect repellant, long-sleeve clothes, mosquito nets and malaria medications. Chagas disease can be prevented through the elimination of the kissing bugs using insecticides.
Babesiosis can be avoided with the help of pest control to eliminate the ticks. If the individual passed through wooded areas, careful monitoring must be done to avoid bringing ticks home. Leishmaniasis can be prevented by avoiding the sand flies. It is best to avoid staying out from dusk to dawn and always use insect repellants and wear long-sleeved clothing.