List of parasites of humans

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Protozoan organisms[edit]

Common name of organism or diseaseLatin name (sorted)Body parts affectedDiagnostic specimenPrevalenceSource/ Transmission (Reservoir/ Vector)
Granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (eye infection)Acanthamoebaeye, braincultureworldwidecontact lenses cleaned with tap water
Granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (skin infection)Balamuthia mandrillarisbrain, skincultureworldwidevia respiratory tract or skin lesion
BabesiosisBabesia B. divergens, B. bigemina, B. equi, B. microfti, B. duncanired blood cellsGiemsa-stained thin blood smearNew York, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket (different species have worldwide distribution)tick bites, e.g. Ixodes scapularis
BalantidiasisBalantidium coliintestinal mucosa, may become invasive in some patientsstool (diarrhea=ciliated trophozoite; solid stool=large cyst with horseshoe shaped nucleus)ingestion of cyst, zoonotic infection acquired from pigs (feces)
BlastocystosisBlastocystisintestinaldirect microscopy of stool (PCR, anti body)2 - 20% of population[1]eating food contaminated with feces from an infected human or animal
Coccidia, cryptosporidiosisCryptosporidiumintestinesstoolwidespreadingestion of oocyst (sporulated), some species are zoonotic (e.g. bovine fecal contamination)
DientamoebiasisDientamoeba fragilisintestinesstoolup to 10% in industrialized countriesingesting water or food contaminated with feces
AmoebiasisEntamoeba histolyticaIntestines (mainly Large, can go to extraintestinal sites)stool (fresh diarrheic stools have amoeba, solid stool has cyst)areas with poor sanitation, high population density and tropical regionsfecal-oral transmission of cyst, not amoeba
GiardiasisGiardia lamblialumen of the small intestinestoolwidespreadingestion of cysts in fecal contaminated water or food, can be zoonotic (deer, beavers)
IsosporiasisIsospora belliepithelial cells of small intestinesstoolworldwide - less common than Toxoplasma or Cryptosporidiumfecal oral route - ingestion of sporulated oocyst
LeishmaniasisLeishmaniacutaneous, mucocutaneous, or visceralvisual identification of lesion or microscopic stain with Leishman's or Giemsa's stainVisceral leishmaniasis- Worldwide; Cutaneous leishmaniasis - Old World; Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis - New WorldPhlebotomus Lutzomyia- bite of several species of phlebotomine sandflies
Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)[2][3]Naegleria fowleribrainculturerare but deadlyNasal insufflation of contaminated warm fresh water, poorly chlorinated swimming pools, hot springs, soil
MalariaPlasmodium falciparum (80% of cases), Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium knowlesired blood cells, liverBlood filmtropical - 250 million cases/yearAnopheles mosquito, bites at night
RhinosporidiosisRhinosporidium seeberinose, nasopharynxbiopsyIndia and Sri Lankanasal mucosa came into contact with infected material through bathing in common ponds
SarcocystosisSarcocystis bovihominis,Sarcocystis suihominisintestine, musclemuscle biopsywidespreadingestion of uncooked/undercooked beef/pork with Sarcocystis sarcocysts
Toxoplasmosis - Parasitic pneumoniaToxoplasma gondiieyes, brain, heart, liverblood and PCRwidespread - up to one third of all humansingestion of uncooked/undercooked pork/lamb/goat with Toxoplasma bradyzoites, ingestion of raw milk with Toxoplasma tachyzoites, ingestion of contaminated water food or soil with oocysts in cat feces that is more than one day old
TrichomoniasisTrichomonas vaginalisfemale urogenital tract (males asymptomatic)microscopic examination of genital swab7.4 million Americanssexually transmitted infection - only trophozoite form (no cyst)
Sleeping sicknessTrypanosoma bruceiblood lymph and central nervous systemsmicroscopic examination of chancre fluid, lymph node aspirates, blood, bone marrow50,000 to 70,000 peopletsetse fly, day biting fly of the genus Glossina
Chagas diseaseTrypanosoma cruzicolon, esophagus, heart, nerves, muscle and bloodGiemsa stain - bloodMexico, Central America, South America - 16-18 millionTriatoma/Reduviidae - "Kissing bug" Insect Vector, feeds at night

Helminths organisms (worms)[edit]


Common name of organism or diseaseLatin name (sorted)Body parts affectedDiagnostic specimenPrevalenceTransmission/Vector
Tapeworm - Tapeworm infectionCestoda, Taenia multicepsintestinestoolrare
Diphyllobothriasis - tapewormDiphyllobothrium latumintestines, bloodstool (microscope)Europe, Japan, Uganda, Peru, Chileingestion of raw fresh water fish
Echinococcosis - tapewormEchinococcus granulosus, Echinococcus multilocularis, E. vogeli, E. oligarthrusliver, lungs, kidney, spleenimaging of hydatid cysts in the liver, lungs, kidney and spleenMediterranean countriesas intermediate host, ingestion of material contaminated by feces from a carnivore; as definite host, ingestion of uncooked meat (offal) from a herbivore
Hymenolepiasis[4]Hymenolepis nana, Hymenolepis diminutaingestion of material contaminated by flour beetles, meal worms, cockroaches
Beef tapewormTaenia saginataIntestinesstoolworldwide distributioningestion of undercooked beef
Cysticercosis-Pork tapewormTaenia soliumBrain, musclestool, bloodAsia, Africa, South America, Southern Europe, North America.ingestion of undercooked pork
BertielliasisBertiella mucronata, Bertiella studeriIntestinesStoolRareContact with non human primates
SparganosisSpirometra erinaceieuropaeiingestion of material contaminated with infected dog or cat faeces (humans: dead-end host)


Common name of organism or diseaseLatin name (sorted)Body parts affectedDiagnostic specimenPrevalenceTransmission/Vector
ClonorchiasisClonorchis sinensis; Clonorchis viverrini|gall bladder ducts and inflammation of liver|ingestion of under prepared fresh water fish
Lancet liver flukeDicrocoelium dendriticumgall bladderrareingestion of ants
Liver fluke - Fasciolosis[5]Fasciola hepatica, Fasciola giganticaliver, gall bladderstoolFasciola hepatica in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Americas and Oceania; Fasciola gigantica only in Africa and Asia, 2.4 million people infected by both speciesfreshwater snails
Fasciolopsiasis - intestinal fluke[6]Fasciolopsis buskiintestinesstool or vomitus (microscope)East Asia - 10 million peopleingestion of infested water plants or water (intermediate host:amphibic snails)
Gnathostomiasis[7]Gnathostoma spinigerum, Gnathostoma hispidumsubcutaneous tissues (under the skin)physical examinationrare - Southeast Asiaingestion of raw or undercooked meat (e.g., freshwater fish, chicken, snails, frogs, pigs) or contaminated water
Metagonimiasis - intestinal flukeMetagonimus yokogawaistoolSiberia, Manchuria, Balkan states, Israel, Spainingestion of undercooked or salted fish
Chinese Liver FlukeOpisthorchis viverrini, Opisthorchis felineus, Clonorchis sinensisbile duct1.5 million people in Russiaconsuming infected raw, slightly salted or frozen fish
Paragonimiasis, Lung FlukeParagonimus westermani; Paragonimus africanus; Paragonimus caliensis; Paragonimus kellicotti; Paragonimus skrjabini; Paragonimus uterobilateralislungssputum, fecesEast Asiaingestion of raw or undercooked freshwater crabs crayfishes or other crustaceans
Schistosomiasis - bilharzia, bilharziosis or snail fever (all types)Schistosoma sp.Africa, Caribbean, eastern South America, east Asia, Middle East - 200 million peopleskin exposure to water contaminated with infected fresh water snails
intestinal schistosomiasisSchistosoma mansoniintestine, liver, spleen, lungs, skinstoolAfrica, Caribbean, South America, Asia, Middle East - 83 million peopleskin exposure to water contaminated with infected Biomphalaria fresh water snails
urinary schistosomiasisSchistosoma haematobiumkidney, bladder, ureters, lungs, skinurineAfrica, Middle Eastskin exposure to water contaminated with infected Bulinus sp. snails
Schistosomiasis by Schistosoma japonicumSchistosoma japonicumintestine, liver, spleen, lungs, skinstoolChina, East Asia, Philippinesskin exposure to water contaminated with infected Oncomelania sp. snails
Asian intestinal schistosomiasisSchistosoma mekongi -South East Asiaskin exposure to water contaminated with infected Neotricula aperta - fresh water snails
Echinostoma echinatumsmall intestineFar Eastingestion of raw fish, mollusks, snails
Swimmer's itchTrichobilharzia regenti, Schistosomatidaeskin exposure to contaminated water (snails and vertebrates)


Common name of organism or diseaseLatin name (sorted)Body parts affectedDiagnostic specimenPrevalenceTransmission/Vector
Ancylostomiasis/HookwormAncylostoma duodenale, Necator americanuslungs, small intestine, bloodstoolcommon in tropical, warm, moist climatespenetration of skin by L3 larva
AngiostrongyliasisAngiostrongylus costaricensisintestinestoolingestion of infected faeces or infected slugs
Anisakiasis[8]Anisakisallergic reactionbiopsyincidental hostingestion of raw fish, squid, cuttlefish, octopus
Roundworm - Parasitic pneumoniaAscaris sp. Ascaris lumbricoidesIntestines, liver, appendix, pancreas, lungs, Löffler's syndromestoolcommon in tropical and subtropical regions
Roundworm - BaylisascariasisBaylisascaris procyonisIntestines, liver, lungs, brainrare: North Americastool from raccoons
Roundworm-lymphatic filariasisBrugia malayi, Brugia timorilymph nodesblood samplestropical regions of AsiaArthropods
Dioctophyme renalis infectionDioctophyme renalekidneys (typically the right)UrineRareIngestion of undercooked or raw freshwater fish
Guinea worm - DracunculiasisDracunculus medinensissubcutaneous tissues, muscleskin blister/ulcerSouth Sudan (eradication ongoing)
Pinworm - EnterobiasisEnterobius vermicularis, Enterobius gregoriiintestines, anusstool; tape test around anuswidespread; temperate regions
HalicephalobiasisHalicephalobus gingivalisbrainsoil contaminated wounds
Loa loa filariasis, Calabar swellingsLoa loa filariaConnective tissue, lungs, eyeblood (Giemsa, haematoxylin, eosin stain)rain forest of West Africa - 12-13 million peopleTabanidae - horse fly, bites in the day
Mansonelliasis, FilariasisMansonella streptocercasubcutaneous layer of skininsect
River blindness, OnchocerciasisOnchocerca volvulusskin, eye, tissuebloodless skin snipAfrica, Yemen, Central and South America near cool, fast flowing riversSimulium/Black fly, bite during the day
Strongyloidiasis - Parasitic pneumoniaStrongyloides stercoralisIntestines, lungs, skin (Larva currens)stool, bloodskin penetration
ThelaziasisThelazia californiensis, Thelazia callipaedaEyesocular examinationAsia, EuropeAmiota (Phortica) variegata, Phortica okadai
ToxocariasisToxocara canis, Toxocara catiliver, brain, eyes (Toxocara canis - Visceral larva migrans, Ocular larva migrans)blood, ocular examinationworldwide distributionpica, unwashed food contamined with Toxocara eggs, undercooked livers of chicken
TrichinosisTrichinella spiralis, Trichinella britovi, Trichinella nelsoni, Trichinella nativamuscle, periorbital region, small intestinebloodmore common in developing countries due to improved feeding practices in developed countries.ingestion of undercooked pork
WhipwormTrichuris trichiura, Trichuris vulpislarge intestine, anusstool (eggs)common worldwideaccidental ingestion of eggs in dry goods such as beans, rice, and various grains or soil contaminated with human feces
ElephantiasisLymphatic filariasisWuchereria bancroftilymphatic systemthick blood smears stained with hematoxylin.Tropical and subtropicalmosquito, bites at night

Other organisms[edit]

Common name of organism or diseaseLatin name (sorted)Body parts affectedDiagnostic specimenPrevalenceTransmission/Vector
AcanthocephaliasisArchiacanthocephala, Moniliformis moniliformisGastrointestinal tract, peritoneum, eyeFaeces, parasite itselfworldwideingestion of intermediate hosts
Halzoun SyndromeLinguatula serratanasopharynxphysical examinationMid Eastingestion of raw or undercooked lymph nodes (e.g., meat from infected camels and buffalos)
MyiasisOestroidea, Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidaedead or living tissue
Chigoe fleaTunga penetransSubcutaneous tissuephysical examinationCentral and South America
Human BotflyDermatobia hominisSubcutaneous tissuephysical examinationCentral and South AmericaMosquitoes and biting flies


Common name of organism or diseaseLatin name (sorted)Body parts affectedDiagnostic specimenPrevalenceTransmission/Vector
BedbugCimicidae Cimex lectulariusskinvisualWorldwidesharing of clothing and bedding
Head louse - PediculosisPediculus humanushair folliclesvisual identification under magnificationCommon worldwidehead-to-head contact
Body louse - PediculosisPediculus humanus corporisvisual identification under magnification (Vagabond's disease)Worldwideskin-to-skin contact such as sexual activity and via sharing clothing or bedding
Crab louse - PediculosisPthirus pubispubic area, eyelashesvisual identification under magnificationWorldwideskin-to-skin contact such as sexual activity and via sharing clothing or bedding
Demodex - DemodicosisDemodex folliculorum/brevis/caniseyebrow, eyelashesMicroscopy of eyelash or eyebrow hair folliclePandemic, worldwideprolonged skin-to-skin contact
ScabiesSarcoptes scabieiskinmicroscopy of surface scrapingsWorldwideskin-to-skin contact such as sexual activity and via sharing clothing or bedding
Screwworm, CochliomyiaCochliomyia hominivoraxskin and woundsvisualNorth America (eradicated), Central America, North Africadirect contact with fly
Flea, SiphonapteraPulex irritansskinvisual identification under magnificationWorldwideenvironment

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amin OM (2002). "Seasonal prevalence of intestinal parasites in the United States during 2000". Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 66 (6): 799–803. PMID 12224595. 
  2. ^ Cogo PE, Scaglia M, Gatti S, Rossetti F, Alaggio R, Laverda AM, et al. Fatal Naegleria fowleri Meningoencephalitis, Italy Emerging Infectious Diseases [serial on the Internet]. 2004 Oct; accessed Jan 2009
  3. ^ Bennett, Nicholas John State University of New York Upstate Medical University Domachowske, Joseph; Khan, Asad A Louisiana State University Health Science Center; King, John W; Cross, J Thomas Naegleria eMedicine; accessed Jan 2009
  4. ^ Tolan, Robert W Jr Hymenolepiasis eMedicine; updated Feb 2008
  5. ^ Yılmaza, Hasan; Gödekmerdan, Ahmet Human fasciolosis in Van province, Turkey doi:10.1016/j.actatropica.2004.04.009
  6. ^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fasciolopsiasis
  7. ^ Tolan, Robert W Gnathostomiasis eMedicine, updated Feb 2008
  8. ^ Anisakiasis

External links[edit]