Parasites have been coevolving with man for millions of years, and like viruses and fungi, their presence in the body serves no known purpose. Indeed, infection with parasites taxes and suppresses immune function and may lead to serious illness and even death.
For example, Burkitt lymphoma cancer often develops from the interaction of EpsteinBarr virus and chronic malaria infection. Recognized as the fastest growing human tumor, Burkitt lymphoma is associated with impaired immunity and is rapidly fatal if left untreated. Since malaria is a parasitic disease, it is reasonable that other parasite/virus or other microbe connections may play a role in human disease. It is not really a long shot, even in spanking clean USA, to observe that many people with mysterious disease show evidence of parasites, often along with yeast or virus or bacteria.
Sex Travel Food and Parasites
Even though there is more parasitic disease in the tropics, there has always been parasite infection in our temperate climes. Furthermore, a number of factors have resulted in increased risk:
- The Sexual Revolution (e.g., Hooking up) Individuals who have numerous sexual partners increase their risk for trichomoniasis, a venereal parasite that affects mainly women.
Contrary to popular belief, however, men are often infected, and may be asymptomatic carriers for many years. In addition, the organism can cause chronic urethritis and prostatitis, and may account for up to 20% of nongonorrheal venereal disease in men. It is likely that practices such as oral anal sex (Analingus) could lead to contagion of parasitic disease, since most parasitic diseases are spread through fecal contamination.(e.g., bacteria, viruses,) Most STDs you get from oral sex – herpes, HPV, syphilis, hepatitis, etc. – can also be spread through intimate contact with the anal area.
- Widespread Travel More Americans are traveling to parts of the world where the water, food, and soil may be contaminated with parasites. Many not only are infected themselves, but may carry the organism back home where infection of family members is possible (though not likely). In addition, soldiers returning from different areas of the world (e.g., Viet Nam, the Middle East, etc.) harbor a variety of parasites, including chronic and potentially lethal infections of the intestine, lungs, liver and central nervous system.
- Immigration from from tropical and subtropical regions. Parasitic infections predominate in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Although this is certainly no cause for alarm or xenophobia, the incidence of parasitic infections in immigrants from Asia, the South Pacific, Haiti, Mexico, Central and South America far exceeds that found in the general population.
- Modern International Food Distribution: Today, food is flown to the U.S. from every corner of the globe. Testing for parasites is virtually impossible as they are usually carried as eggs or cysts, not visible organisms. Proper handling and cooking, of course, reduces risk of infection, but problems still arise.
- Popularity of Ethnic Foods Any meat, fish or fowl which is not thoroughly cooked can carry parasites, but ethnic dishes containing semi-cooked meat may be safe if properly marinated or smoked.
It has also been theorized that a portion of the parasite infection in the USA comes from produce grown in irrigated fields. Workers in these fields may use the irrigation ditches as latrines. The
untreated water then gets sprayed on the growing produce. If these fruits and vegetables are not well washed before consumption, we can get exposed to parasite eggs. If normal defenses in the stomach and intestines are not adequate, we could get parasitic infection. You might experience this infection as a mild “flu.” This mild “flu” might not get better. It could linger for years and could trigger the CFS.
For decades, farm workers had no right to bathrooms, although this practice is changing. Workers relieved themselves in or near the fields because there was no other option. There was no privacy and the urine or feces remained where it was dropped. It was impossible for workers to wash their hands. And drinking water, to the
extent there was any, had to be brought by the workers themselves