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Rat-Borne Parasite That Can Cause Brain Disease Spreading in Southern U.S.

Brown rats found and analyzed near Atlanta now carry rat lungworm, researchers report.

It's a parasite that can trigger a dangerous brain encephalitis in both people and pets, and which now threatens a wide area of the U.S. Southeast.

Researchers in Georgia say the microscopic rat lungworm, known scientifically as Angiostrongylus cantonensis, typically begins its life cycle...

Doctors Pulled Live Worm From Australian Woman's Brain

Doctors plucked a wriggling roundworm from the brain of an Australian woman in the world's first-known case of human infection with a parasite common in some pythons.

The woman, who had been experiencing worsening symptoms for at least a year, is believed to have gotten the infection from foraging and eating grasses where a snake had defecated.

"This is the first-ever human case of ...

Parasites Plagued Ancient Reptiles 200 Million Years Ago

Scientists have found evidence of ancient parasites preserved in the dung of an aquatic predator from more than 200 million years ago.

The ancient predator -- believed to be an extinct crocodile-like reptile called a phytosaur -- was infected with nematodes and multiple other parasite species.

While parasites are a common and important part of ecosystems, ancient parasites are hard ...

New Malaria Case Reported in Florida Brings National Total to 8

The United States now has had eight reported cases of malaria, seven of them in Florida, state health officials reported Tuesday.

Considered a public health emergency, these cases are the first in two decades to be acquired within this country's borders, not reported by someone who had traveled elsewhere, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • July 19, 2023
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  • Ticks May Be Spreading 'Wasting Disease' Among Wisconsin Deer

    Ticks may be responsible for the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wisconsin's deer population, according to a new study.

    Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that ticks can harbor transmissible amounts of the protein particle that causes CWD, a fatal neurological disease seen in deer, elk and moose.

    The pathogen, prion, can pass through soil or th...

    Stray Cats Shed Toxoplasmosis Parasites in Cities, Especially in Warm Weather

    Wild and feral cats appear to release more toxoplasmosis parasites in places densely populated with people, new research suggests.

    These cats also "shed" more when the temperature is warmer, a significant finding given climate change, according to the report published online June 21 in PLOS ONE.

    Policymakers could help protect humans from this illness by better managing th...

    New Parasite Is Killing Sea Otters, and Might Pose Threat to People

    A rare strain of the parasite Toxoplasma has killed four sea otters along the California coast, raising concerns about a potential public health risk.

    “The appearance of this lethal type of Toxoplasma in coastal California is concerning for two main reasons: First, because of potential population health impacts on a threatened species, and second, because this parasit...

    What Is Heartworm and How Can You Protect Your Pet From It?

    It's possible to prevent heartworms in many of your furry friends — dogs, cats and ferrets, specifically.

    Heading off a severe and sometimes deadly illness simply requires regular, year-round preventive treatment through a pill, injection or topical medication, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Heartworms are parasitic worms that can grow to 12 inches in length. ...

    Two Veterinary Meds Show Promise Against a Tough Foe: Bed Bugs

    Two common drugs that veterinarians use to kill parasites on pets could be the solution to getting rid of bed bugs.

    Both fluralaner and ivermectin, which are used to kill fleas and ticks on household pets, could also kill bed bugs. The newer, longer-lasting fluralaner showed especially strong potential.


  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • December 1, 2022
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  • Dangerous Parasite That Can Infect People Now Found in U.S. Foxes

    A rare parasitic disease that has long been documented in Europe seems to have taken root in the United States.

    Researchers in Vermont are reporting on two human cases of the disease, called alveolar echinococcosis (AE), which were caused by a European strain of the parasite E. multilocularis.

    They also found evidence of the strain in two red foxes in Virginia.


    Pious Parasites: Medieval Monks Battled Nasty Gut Germs

    Medieval monks were much more wormy than average folks, a new archaeological analysis has revealed.

    Those living in medieval Cambridge were nearly twice as likely to be infected by intestinal parasites as city dwellers, researchers found.

    Even though Augustinian friars had access t...

    Monoclonal Antibody Might Help Prevent Malaria

    Researchers are reporting early but encouraging findings on a potential new way to prevent malaria — an old foe that still ranks as a major killer worldwide.

    In a small trial of healthy volunteers, U.S. government researchers found that a lab-engineered antibody protected most participants from infect...

    Tiny Mites Are Feeding on Your Skin, But for How Long?

    It's an icky truth: Everyone has millions of tiny mites living and mating on their skin.

    Not to worry, though -- Demodex folliculorum skin mites actually help keep your pores clean and your skin healthy, stressed Alejandra Perotti, an associate professor of invertebrate biology with the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

    However, her team's recent research suggest...

    Dangerous Germs Floating on Microplastics in Ocean Wind Up in Food, Water

    Land parasites that pose a risk to human and wildlife health can hitch rides on the millions of pounds of microplastics that float between oceans, a new study shows.

    "It's easy for people to dismiss plastic problems as something that doesn't matter for them, like, 'I'm not a turtle in the ocean; I won't c...

    'Dr. Chimp Will See You Now'? Primates Use Medicine, Study Suggests

    Chimpanzees aren't monkeying around when they catch insects and place them on open wounds, researchers report.

    An ongoing study of about 45 chimps in Loango National Park in Gabon is the first to document via video that such "healing" behavior is occurring, according to the team from Osnabrück University in Germany and the Ozouga Chimpanzee Project. The study was published Feb. 7 in the ...

    Insurance Often Covers Ivermectin for COVID, Even Though Drug Doesn't Work

    U.S. insurers are paying millions of dollars a year to cover the cost of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients despite a lack of proof the anti-parasitic drug is effective against the virus, a new study finds.

    Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization say ivermectin pills -- typically used to treat parasitic infections like worms -- should not be used for COV...

    In Ancient Times, Even the Rich Had Parasites

    In ancient times, intestinal parasites weren't just an affliction of the poor. Even the well-to-do had them.

    Researchers studied the contents of a cesspit beneath a toilet in Jerusalem. They found the remains of several types of intestinal parasite eggs that would have resulted from poor sanitary conditions.


    Confusion, Seizures: People Hospitalized After Taking Veterinary Drug for COVID

    It's a drug that's been supported by some conservative media figures, but taking ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 might land you in the hospital, a new study warns.

    Interest in the drug surged last summer as the highly contagious Delta variant took over the United States. But instead of protecting against the virus, the use of a medicine typically reserved for horses and cattle has...

    Common Dog Parasite Now Resistant to Drug Treatments

    Hookworms -- a common parasite in animals -- have become resistant to multiple deworming drugs used to kill them, a new study finds.

    Veterinarians typically use three types of drugs to kill hookworms, and all three have lost their effectiveness, researchers report.

    Moreover, as more hookworms survive, they'll be a threat to people, too, according to the study.

    One possible bre...

    Don't Use Veterinary Drug Ivermectin Against COVID, FDA Warns

    Desperate for a treatment against COVID-19, some Americans have reached for an anti-parasitic drug aimed at animals, with serious consequences, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

    "Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans," the FDA cautioned in a statement.

    The agency has re...

    Toxin in Undercooked Meat Shows Links to Rare Brain Tumors

    A foodborne pathogen may be linked to a type of rare brain cancer in adults, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that people who have glioma are more likely to have antibodies to toxoplasma gondii than a similar group that was cancer-free. That indicates they were previously infected with the parasite, which is most commonly acquired from undercooked meat.

    The invest...

    Icky Prescription: Could Hookworms Help Ease MS?

    In a new trial there are hints, but no proof, that a wriggling intestinal parasite might help fight multiple sclerosis.

    The lowly hookworm has for years been proposed as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune disorders.

    But the first clinical trial testing the potential benefits of the parasite against MS has produced decidedly mixed results, ...

    Your Sushi May Serve Up Parasitic Worms

    You may get more than you bargained for when you eat sushi, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that since the 1970s, there's been a 283-fold increase in the abundance of a parasitic worm that can be transmitted to people who eat raw or undercooked seafood.

    This huge increase in the abundance of Anisakis worms, also called herring worms, could have consequences for both ...

    'Semi-Slug' Is Spreading a Lethal Parasite in Hawaii

    A brain-invading killer parasite hides on a half-snail/half-slug creature before slipping into a salad, just waiting to be swallowed by hungry humans. Is it the plot of a B-movie or a real medical threat?

    Unfortunately, the threat is real. Across the state of Hawaii, the "rat lungworm" parasite carried by slugs and snails has already caused more than a decade's worth of illness, a new...

    Bedbugs Date Back to T. Rex's Time

    Bedbugs have a long history, all the way back to the dinosaur age, a new study says.

    British researchers said bedbugs evolved more than 100 million years ago and were around when dinosaurs were in charge.

    "To think that the pests that live in our beds today evolved more than 100 million years ago and were walking the Earth side by side with dinosaurs, was a revelation," sai...