Flukes live in different locations in the body, including the intestines, bladder, rectum, liver, spleen, lungs and veins. Flukes first mature inside freshwater snails. After leaving the snails, they can enter the body of humans by penetrating the skin of persons swimming, bathing or washing in water where flukes are active. Infected persons can re-contaminate the water by urinating or defecating in it. Most infected persons experience no symptoms. However, some infected persons may experience rash, itching, muscle aches, coughing, chills and fever. Flukes pass out of the body, but persons can become infected again and again. In time, the repeated infections can damage the liver, bladder, intestines and lungs. In rare cases, flukes can invade the spinal cord or brain and cause seizures and paralysis. Fluke-caused illnesses are classified as schistosomiasis (also called bilharziasis) and are mainly confined to Africa parts of South America and the Caribbean, and parts of the Middle East, China and the Philippines.

The word “helminth” is derived from the Greek “helmins” (worm). Helminthology is the study of parasitic worms.

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    An abnormal and persistent fear of being infested with parasitic worms called helminths. The eggs of these worms can contaminate air and water, particularly where hygiene is poor. They can also contaminate foods such as pork and beef as well as pets and wild animals, objects such as toilet seats, and feces (bowel waste). Pinworms, […]

  • Helper cell

    those that activate other T cells to achieve cellular inflammatory responses; and those that drive B cells to produce antibodies in the humoral immune response. These two classes of response are generally incompatible with one another and require coordination by substances called cytokines to promote one response while dampening the other. The HIV virus attacks […]

  • Hem-onc

    Short for Hematology-oncology.

  • Hemangioma

    A benign tumor formed by a collection of excess blood vessels. A hemangioma may be visible through the skin as a birthmark, known colloquially as a ‘strawberry mark.’ Most hemangiomas that occur at birth disappear after a few months or years.

  • Hemangioma, capillary

    A type of hemangioma (a benign tumor formed by a collection of excess blood vessels) that is composed almost entirely of tiny capillary vessels. Capillary hemangiomas may be located anywhere on the body but they are most common on the face, scalp, back, and chest. They may be evident at birth or become noticeable several […]

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