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Deadly Parasitic Creature Spreading Through S. Florida

Invasive New Guinea flatworm has migrated from Miami to southwest coast

(Newser) - You may think you can avoid coming into contact with the New Guinea flatworm by simply not visiting New Guinea, but the critter is closer to home than you might guess. Per the Palm Beach Post , the potentially deadly parasite is proliferating throughout South Florida, slithering from where it was... More »

Girl's 'Appendicitis' Turns Out to Be Worms

Doctors got quite the surprise during her appendectomy

(Newser) - A teenager in the UK who showed up at a hospital's pediatric unit complaining of stomach pain ended up getting an appendectomy—but it was something else entirely that had caused her distress, per an article in BMJ Case Reports . Doctors weren't 100% sure that the 15-year-old had... More »

They're Desperate for Relief. So They're Ingesting Worms

New York Times explores the 'helminth' movement

(Newser) - The idea of heading to Tijuana and returning with a hookworm infection might sound like a nightmare, but a growing number of people are going out of their way to deliberately inflict that fate on themselves—all in the name of better heath. A feature in the New York Times ... More »

20-Foot Tapeworm Found Living Inside Raw-Beef-Loving Man

He lost up to 22 pounds in three days

(Newser) - Squeamish readers be warned: The South China Morning Post reports a Chinese man was recently found to have a 20-foot tapeworm living inside his intestines. According to Live Science , the 38-year-old man went to the doctor last spring after losing up to 22 pounds over the course of three days.... More »

Parasitic Worm May Make Women More Fertile

Women infected have an average of 2 more kids than others

(Newser) - A roundworm infection is bad news for a number of reasons, but it's possibly a bonus if you're trying to get pregnant. In a nine-year study that one fertility scientist says raises the possibility of "novel fertility-enhancing drugs," researchers analyzed 986 Tsimane indigenous women in Bolivia,... More »

This Disfiguring Disease Has Crossed the US Border

Cases of the tropical disease are cropping up in Texas and Oklahoma

(Newser) - A sometimes lethal parasitic disease that can leave its victims with crater-like ulcers and grayish skin tones has never much bothered those within the confines of the US—until now. Between 2000 and 2007, 13 autochthonous cases—meaning victims contracted it here, as opposed to while traveling elsewhere—of leishmaniasis... More »

Drug's Price Changed From $13.50 a Tablet to $750

Daraprim move doesn't go over well

(Newser) - "This isn't the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business. It really doesn't make sense to get any criticism for this." The "this" Martin Shkreli is referring to is the price hike his company instituted after it... More »

Your Cat Could Be Clawing at Your Mental Health

Cat parasite may boost risk of schizophrenia, other mental illnesses

(Newser) - Cat owners, beware: A parasite found in feline feces could not only make you physically sick, but also mentally so, according to new research . Cats carry a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii, which can be passed to humans through feces. As many as 60 million Americans may carry the parasite,... More »

Meet the Parasites That Suck Mosquitoes' Blood

Culicoid midges can hang onto hosts for days

(Newser) - Next time you're annoyed by a tenacious mosquito, you can take solace in the fact that it, too, has to deal with parasites who want to suck its blood. And, as Jennifer Frazer points out in Scientific American , the mosquito has no way of slapping the tiny creature known... More »

Beluga Whales Infected With Cat Parasite

Poses health threat to Inuits

(Newser) - The Toxoplasma gondii parasite, carried by cats, can cause rats to stop fearing the felines; in humans, it can cause blindness. Now, beluga whales in the Arctic have been discovered to have the parasite—and researchers fear it could infect the people who eat them. "The only way to... More »

Richard III Had Bad Case of Roundworms

Researchers find evidence of intestinal parasite infection

(Newser) - Since digging up the skeleton of Richard III , scientists have been able to determine what he looked like , how he was buried ... and, most recently, what was going on in his bowels. It seems the king had a roundworm infection when he died, the Independent reports. Researchers compared a soil... More »

Dust Mites Reverse Evolution, Shock Scientists

Parasites de-specialized in order to survive, study says

(Newser) - Think our evolutionary progress is irreversible? Researchers at the University of Michigan say tiny house dust mites evolved from organisms that specialized and later de-specialized in order to survive over millions of years, Phys.Org reports. The large-scale genetic study, published in Systematic Biology , challenges one of the basic suppositions... More »

Disease You've Likely Never Heard of Costs US Millions

Little-known Chagas disease sucks $900M a year

(Newser) - A little-known parasitic disease from Latin America costs the US economy $900 million a year, the New York Times reports, even though you've probably never heard of Chagas disease . To put the figure in perspective, the much more publicized Lyme disease costs the US about $2.5 billion, a... More »

We've Only Wiped Out One Human Disease—Until Now

Guinea worm cases down 99%

(Newser) - The guinea worm is set to go the way of smallpox, becoming the second human disease to be fully wiped out—thanks in part to work by Jimmy Carter's Carter Center. "We are approaching the demise of the last guinea worm who will ever live on Earth,"... More »

Study: Cat Poop Raises Owners' Suicide Risk

Parasite infection linked to higher rate of attempts

(Newser) - More bad press for cat poop: A parasite found in cat feces has been linked to an increased likelihood of owners committing suicide, reports NPR . The study of more than 45,000 Danish women over the course of 30 years found that those infected with toxoplasmosis (possibly from changing cat... More »

Body Hair Is Bedbug Warning System

Our layer of fine hairs aids parasite detection: study

(Newser) - Scientists who wondered why human skin still boasts as many follicles as that of great apes—ours, of course, grow hair much, much finer—believe our species' continued hairiness serves as an alarm system that protects us from bedbugs and other biting insects, the Economist finds. The researchers, who shaved... More »

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment: Parasitic Worms

Hookworms, whipworms can reduce brain lesions caused by MS

(Newser) - The fight against multiple sclerosis has found an unexpected ally—parasitic worms. Researchers in the United States and Denmark are looking into the eggs of pig whipworms, which can reduce the size of the MS brain lesions and the effects of the disease, while doctors in the UK are studying... More »

Experts Swarm Bedbug Summit

Leaders in battle against bloodsuckers meet in Chicago

(Newser) - These are boom times in the bedbug control business and dozens of scientists, exterminators, and inventors have flocked to a summit this week on dealing with the resurgent pest. At the first-ever North American Bedbug Summit, being held in a suburban Chicago hotel, dozens of vendors displayed ways to trap,... More »

Cities With Worst Bedbug Infestations

Ohio has three in the top 10

(Newser) - The bedbug problem continues to spread across the US, with 95% of pest companies reporting encounters. But which cities are the hardest hit? The Daily Beast consulted exterminator Orkin for information—and found that it's not a good time to be in Ohio. The biggest infestations are in: More »

This Leech Wants to Live in Your Nose

Large-toothed leech infests Amazon—and, of course, noses

(Newser) - If the piranhas aren't enough to deter you from swimming in the Amazon region, this thing probably will be. A new species of leech has been discovered in Peru—and it's especially fond of dwelling inside the human nose, the BBC reports. The creature, discovered after a doctor pulled one... More »

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