49 votes
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Why is untreated trypanosomiasis invariably fatal in humans?

African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei, a single-celled eukaryote. Being eukaryotic, it has a cell nucleus and a larger genome than most bacteria;...
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20 votes
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Are some people more 'attractive' to mosquitos? If so, is that a hereditary trait?

There is a genetic component to mosquito's attraction to humans. Female mosquitoes display preferences for certain individuals over others, which is determined by differences in volatile chemicals ...
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12 votes
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How can a tongue-biting parasitic arthropod become a fully functional tongue?

Short answer There is no evidence whatsoever that the parasitic arthropod Cymothoa exigua develops itself into a functional tongue. Instead, it consumes the fish's tongue and occupies the freed buccal ...
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12 votes
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How to prove that pork meat has parasites

Short answer T. solium infection can be identified in pork meat by visual inspection. Background The stage of the life cycle of the tape worm T. solium in pigs is characterized by cysticerci, which ...
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9 votes
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Why is the species-diversity of deadly parasites greatest in the tropics?

The diversity of parasites shows a gradient with increasing diversity from the poles to the equator. Several reasons have been brought forth to explain the latitude-dependency of parasite diversity: ...
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9 votes
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Worm found inside of wahoo

It is Giant Stomach Worm (Hirudinella Ventricosa). It is a platyhelmith parasitic to Wahoo fish, feeding on its blood and found inside the stomach. It makes 98% of Wahoo's parasitic infections. ...
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8 votes
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Blood clumping in mosquitos

Female mosquitoes need blood for laying their eggs. This actually means that they need a source of rich protein and iron for their kids and hence, prey on us. It is worthwhile for us to pause here ...
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6 votes
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Blood consumption

Is consumption of blood more "dangerous" compared to meat? Actually yes, a simple high dose of blood is enough to kill. The cause is, though it is most important thing to live when flowing ...
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6 votes

Spread of malaria from an infected person

With humans infected with malaria, the parasite load in the blood can be quite high. It ranges from 10 to 108 Plasmodium falciparum parasites per ml . When a female Anopheles mosquito bites an ...
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6 votes
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Can a zombie apocalypse really occur?

There are many examples of parasite manipulation in nature, if you want more examples you can look up the paper of Lefevre and Thomas (2008). I think the key is, in order for a parasite to develop ...
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5 votes

What makes worms' eggs float or sink?

Okay, I found the last part of your question the most interesting and can't give a full answer to that, but I just noticed I can answer the rest so here goes. How it works (the simple version) It ...
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5 votes
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Can a reservoir host act as a vector?

A reservoir host most obviously is a long-term carrier organism of a given pathogen that doesn't exhibit the disease caused by the pathogen. A vector is literally any agent that transfers the ...
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5 votes
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How long does foreign DNA stay intact in human blood?

The De Vlaminck Lab has extensively studied the origins of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in human plasma and its utility in detecting infections and organ injury.1,2 Concerning your question of ...
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Questions about "parasite recursion"

Hyperparasitism is one possible term. According to the linked article it is commonplace in certain types of insects, but also in fungi. Apparently the cases of at least three levels are known: a ...
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Photo attached of flies ‘injecting’ into spider egg sacs. Why? What’s going on here?

(Converting from comment) Based on internet searches, it appears likely that the fly is Sarcophaga arachnivora, which lives off of spider egg cases in its juvenile form; the fly is laying eggs. If you ...
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Does a specific blood group enhance the Plasmodium growth?

It is a well documented observation that Plasmodium (vivax and knowlesi) infection is dependent on the Duffy blood groups [1]. Individuals lacking the Duffy antigens (Fya and Fyb) have lower ...
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4 votes

Has an artificial symbiotic relationship ever been created?

Do not forget domesticated animals that we now keep as pets. It's not unreasonable to argue that the relationship between dogs/cats and humans has a symbiotic character. The pet gets foodand shelter ...
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Has an artificial symbiotic relationship ever been created?

Here are some examples: symbiosis between genetic modified yeast cell populations (Shou W et al. 2007) symbiosis between green algae and embryonic chick connective tissue (Buchsbaum R et al. 1934) ...
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4 votes
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At which temperature is the Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus destroyed?

A very basic model of virus inactivation is exponential decay. You can describe exponential decay with the $N(t) = N_0e^{-\lambda t}$ equation, of if you want to use half-time, then with the $N(t) = ...
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4 votes

How can a tongue-biting parasitic arthropod become a fully functional tongue?

Just to add to Christiaan's excellent answer: The authors of his cited study state: [the tongues] replacement by a parasite would not appear to be a complex phenomenon. Implying that this is a ...
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4 votes

Can a zombie apocalypse really occur?

If there are drugs that can cause this kind of disorder you described, then it is possible to engineer a microbe, that can produce these drugs and maintain a chronic infection, which does not ...
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4 votes

Why don't mosquitoes target the visible blood vessels under the skin?

For a mosquito, there is really no benefit to targeting those visible blood vessels. Mosquitoes take only a small amount of blood, and their proboscis is going to be a limiting factor anyways. ...
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4 votes

Are some people more 'attractive' to mosquitos? If so, is that a hereditary trait?

I would distinguish two major types of mosquito bites "risk factors": genetic predispositions and transient attractiveness. Mosquitoes utilize different senses to localise and choose a host. ...
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4 votes
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How do parasites "reprogram" brains?

Not much is known about the mechanisms involved, but they do appear to differ significantly from parasite to parasite. I'll discuss a few different examples here, and try to provide as much ...
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4 votes
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How do schistosomes find and attach to human skin?

Schistosoma recognize human skin by mechanical, thermal and chemical stimuli from host. Attachment of parasite to skin is stimulated by L-arginine. Schistosomes specifically bind to L -argine by ...
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4 votes

Is Pork more prone to carrying higher loads of parasites than Beef?

Trichenellosis from pork occurs in about about 5 people per year since the 1980's in the US. it has a 0.2% mortality rate there. We can say that 1 American/ 1 European dies from pig meat every 20 ...
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3 votes
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Effect of alcohol on parasites

Drosophila is seen as a highly alcohol tolerant species which is mainly dependent on the environment it lives in. So are flies, which are captured in the cellar of a wine yard more tolerant to alcohol ...
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3 votes
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Is it possible for a parasitic wasp to alter the behaviour of its host after emerging from it?

Another example is the wasp species Dinocampus coccinellae, which lays its eggs inside certain species of ladybug/ladybird - most notably the "twelve-spotted lady beetle" (Coleomegilla maculata). It ...
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Are there any generic (not dependent on symptoms) ways to find parasite infections?

The first thing that comes to mind would be eosinophils numeration. It is a specific type of white blood cell that handles parasitic infections. So in most cases, a blood sample would show an increase ...
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