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What are the different types of parasites?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are three types of parasites that feast on humans:
  • Protozoa - one-celled organisms that live and multiply in the blood or tissue of humans. They infect the body via mosquitoes and flies and are found in soil and water.
  • Helminths - parasitic flatworms, flukes, tapeworms, thorny-headed worms, roundworms, and pinworms. They live in the gastrointestinal tract, blood, lymphatic system, and other tissues.
  • Ectoparasites - ticks, fleas, lice, and mites that live on the surface of a human host and attach or burrow into the skin.
There are a host of parasitic infections that cause disease in humans. The effect can range from mildly annoying to life-threatening. Malaria is the most prevalent parasitic disease worldwide, killing more than 1 million people each year. Trichomoniasis, a common vaginal infection, is the most common parasitic infection in the U.S.
Susan Evans
Dermatology
Parasites feed from inside your body. These creatures include tape worms, round worms, hook works, pin worms, that can grow to various sizes and lengths. Tape worms can attach themselves to the intestinal walls and stay nourished off food that you eat.
Robynne K. Chutkan, MD
Gastroenterology

There are several different types of parasites that can cause intestinal infections. To learn more, watch this video featuring gastroenterologist and Dr. Oz guest Dr. Robynne Chutkan.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.