Who Are Most at Risk?
Low or middle-income countries have higher rates of morbidities due to intestinal parasites and foodborne diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, over 200 diseases can originate from foodborne problems. From there, at least 23 and a half million people suffer from intestinal issues annually in the world. In more extreme cases, around 45,000 of these 23 million annual cases can lead to death or unfortunate demise.
Common or popular diseases that spring from intestinal parasites include
- Hookworm infection
Contaminated food is a top risk factor when it comes to intestinal parasites. Lack of safety in food handling and consumption practices among adults can lead to more problems like intestinal parasites in the body. Conversely, cooking food between temperatures of 60 to 75 degrees Celsius is found to make parasites inactive.
Apart from directly ingesting contaminated food, unsuspecting adults should be concerned about oral exposure or fecal exposure to someone with intestinal parasite issues.
Other additional risk factors include
- Poor hygiene
- International travel
- Living in a parasite-infested area
- Age and immunocompromised profiles (the elderly and very young are vulnerable populations that need extra precautions against this)
- Vulnerability from HIV or AIDS
- House pets that also have parasites are considered high risk for adults and children. A particular strain called toxoplasmosis comes from cat feces and can be fatal to fetuses of pregnant women.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites in the Body
Most of the intestinal parasites, except the eggs or worms that can come out of the body through feces, are invisible or require a microscope to view. Dormant, they can live in the body for years and go undetected because there are asymptomatic cases.