What are parasites?
A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it.
Parasites also commonly show highly specialized adaptations allowing them to exploit host resources ...
The parasitic mode of life is the most common on the planet, with representatives from all major taxa, from the simplest unicellular organisms to complex vertebrates.
Every free-living species has its own unique species of parasite, so the number of parasitic species greatly exceeds the number of free living species.
(More from Wikipedia on Parasitology)
Parasites in the News
Parasitology is such an important and rapidly growing science that it is regularly referenced in the news and other mixed media.
From science magazines and journals to newspapers and television shows, there is no shortage of news, stories, articles, research papers, etc. regarding parasites.
Below is one example of countless parasite related news stories...
For many more, visit our Parasites in the News section.
Article: 'Antiparasite Weapon'
The debilitating parasitic illness known
as schistosomiasis infects roughly 200 million people worldwide, making it second only to malaria in importance for public health.
Currently just one drug, praziquantel, commonly treats the chronic disease, raising fears that the parasite could evolve resistance against it.
Now, Conor R. Caffrey of the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues have found a new drug that can kill the blood flukes that cause the ailment.
They investigated the drug K11777, which interferes with the flukes' digestive enzymes, and discovered that it could eliminate the parasites in lab mice.
If effective in humans, K11777 could work in tandem with praziquantel, with the former taking care of early-stage illnesses and the latter killing later-stage infections.
- Charles Q. Choi
(Photo and text excerpted from Scientific American, January 2008)
(Human) Diseases Caused by Parasites
Parasites are the cause for some of the most troublesome diseases recognized by humans on the planet.
Malaria alone affects hundreds of millions of people in third world countries every year, causing a millions of deaths, while other parasites cause diseases that cost millions of more lives...
From Sleeping sickness to River Blindness to Elephantiasis, the list is longer than many imagine.
Visit our Diseases caused by Parasites (in humans) section to get an introduction to some of the most infamous...
Parasite Questions & Answers
In the recent past, Parasitology.com fielded parasite related questions via its "Ask the Resident Parasitologist" feature- and answered them (as best was possible) using terminology, logic, and language understandable to that of the questioner- from lay persons to scientists.
The topics covered a wide variety of parasite related subjects.
In order to benefit others who may have similiar questions, problems, or parasite related concerns, we have archived our collection of questions and their answers here...
We are looking for a new 'Resident Parasitologist'
If you are an accredited parasitologist and would be interested in becoming this site's new "resident parasitologist", we'd love to talk to you.
Our friend and previous resident parasitologist is unable to continue his position of answering the myriad questions coming into this site about parasitology related subjects- and so we are looking for another person to fill his void.
If you think you might be that person, please email us here and tell us about yourself.
To see our archived questions and answers about parasitology, (from our previous parasitologist), and to get an idea of the kinds of questions you might be faced with as our new resident parasitologist, see our archives of questions and answers about parasitology here.