Parasite fascination in Africa

#1
Hello guys!

I new around here - who would have guessed? - and wanted to say hi.
I am a German bachelor student highly interested in parasitology and currently working on my thesis in the central African country Gabon. Here I stay until the end of february and hope to make good use of the opportunities offered to me.

For I am no good in statistics but really need to get this running, I am already sorry for any 'stupid' questions that might come from my side.
Who ever might have a question of their own regarding my field of research might feel free to contact me at any time - I'd love to give some insights!

Thanks for having me here :D
Miss_Para
 

hlsmith

Not a robit
#2
Parasite cycles are more than fascinating. I find them especially interesting when the parasite turns the host into a zombie in order to complete its own life cycle. Mouse you are now attracted to cat urine. Fish or other wild life looking as though they are hurt potential preyed due to parasite, then predator eats it and now the cycle continues. There are so many cool ones, bird eats crippled fish, then defecates into the water source for parasite to eventual get back into the fish. Super cool stuff. Everything is interconnected. I also liked when they say your own good bacteria can hang out in the appendix and repopulate after your GI tract gets wiped out. there is an evolutionary opportunist for you.


Do you have a favorite parasite or area yet?


Yeah, stats are very relevant, though you all have some particular stats you run for communicability, that I would imagine can get generalized to some social media usages these days.


Glad to have you on board.
 
#3
You are totally right, there are more than just a few very awesome parasites around. Even though the once affecting animals are more likely to have extreme life cycles, I came to work with human parasites for my thesis. They usually don't turn their hosts (us!) into zombies (even though there are always exceptions), but they are still major health issues. That's one of the reasons I always feel weird when seeing some serious cases: On the one hand I simply love to see how bad it can be, multiple infections, blood loss and all that stuff; on the other hand I also think about the poor patient, who might be at a serious risk because of that.

My favorite human parasite so far is the Schistosoma haematobium, which inhabits the mesenteric veins of your bladder. Even though they stay directly in your blood and are also quite big for a parasite living in blood vessels, they can hardly be detected by our immune system. They use very distinct camouflage which we are still far from understanding completely.
Still I am working on a different helminth, one of the hookworms. These little 'suckers' (you excuse my expression but they are nothing else) are really dangerous for pregnant woman and kids, for they cause anemia and infuence mental and physical development.

If you would ask me for my favorite non-human parasite I would not know what to answer: There are way to many crazy things to be found and I think I by far know not enough of those to be a fair judge.

Statistics have always been interesting for me during my studies, but now I am faced with problems I didn't work on before and am lost in some aspects. I will do some more reading before I actually state a question here - I hate people that are just lazy and don't do any thinking by themselfs.
 

hlsmith

Not a robit
#4
Yeah, a acquired a street cat once, got it all taken care of but it got fleas again by accident, I guess the cat ate some of the fleas and then ended up with tape worms. So I would find these segments on his rear quarters. I got it all taken care of, but I always had this hidden fear I would ingest a flea and get a tape worm, however I realize that there are certain hosts and paths for everything.


We will wait for your well posed questions! Thanks for the introduction.