Tales of Humanity's Most Unwelcome Guests

Book - 2010
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The evolution and life history of parasites, their role in shaping human history, as well as future threats posed by them.
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2010.
ISBN: 9780520269774
Branch Call Number: 591.65 Drisdell
Characteristics: xv, 258 p. :,ill., maps ;,24 cm.


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Mar 09, 2017

An eye-opening and somewhat gruesome account about the parasites among us by a Canadian parasitologist, who provides many real world stories to illustrate how one can become infected and even how such infection can change the host's behaviour to the benefit of the parasite. Parasite's usual method of dispersal is to be swallowed, attach to the intestinal wall to suck nutrients, then burrow through into the blood stream where they can reach organs or reach your throat to be re-ingested. Two points stuck with me: drinking water and fruit. The book drives home the importance of source water protection since parasites are not killed by chlorination and must be filtered out, which is a complex process. Parasites can also lurk in the nooks and crannies of fruit like raspberries and are not easily washed off. While tropical areas are particularly afflicted with horrifying parasites, we have our fair share in North America like Giardia, Hookworm, and Toxoplasma gondi. After reading this book I was amazed that more people aren't infected with them. The book is fascinating, but not for the squeamish; you will never look at a raspberry the same way again.


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