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Robert S. Lewis macaque at bigfoot.com
Mon Feb 22 23:02:07 EST 1999

Bob/Judy Dilworth wrote:
> I am personally taken aback that you would say such a thing about the medical
> professions' identification of parasites.  We as medical technologists are
> trained to look for blood parasites, e.g. trypanosomes, malarial parasites,
> microfilariae, etc., and have to pass proficiency testing on these and
> intestinal parasites on a regular basis.  Pathologists are the people who look
> at the tissue specimens, and any pathologist would get second opinions on any
> slide he would find suspicious of any parasite that he/she couldn't identify.
> There are specialists in tropical diseases both in pathology and in practice,
> as well as infectious disease physicians who are trained to treat parasitic
> diseases.  If you would tell any physician that you had been out of the
> country to an area known for parasitic infestations or tropical diseases, a
> flag hopefully would go up.  Here in the U.S. the most common parasite is
> Giardia lamblia.  Ascaris (round worms), Enterobius vermicularis (pinworms),
> and hookworm can be found in stool specimens, but not in huge segments of the
> population due to the simple fact that MOST people live in a clean environment
> and don't ingest feces.  This is how a huge amount of parasites are spread -
> in bad water and living conditions.  I am frankly getting tired of hearing
> about parasites that questionably exist.  Show them to me in formalin, on a
> slide and/or under a microscope and then I'll believe, and hopefully I could
> identify them using legitimate texts.  If you are so insistent that you are
> infested with these parasites, I want names, preps, travel history, and other
> information to narrow down the field.  Please don't mislead people that
> everyone has parasites.  Many people live with parasites in underdeveloped
> countries, but not in the U.S.  Our lab processes 8-10 O&P exams on a daily
> basis, and we have a positive 2-3 times/month that is usually Giardia (Ohio).
> Different parts of the country would  come up with different numbers depending
> on geographic location.  Large coastal cities with more foreign travelers
> would see far different numbers and a different parasite profile.  This is
> well documented in many texts.
> As far as "cleaning up your diet"  make sure fresh foods are well-washed.
> Stay away from mosquito-infested tropical areas, and WASH YOUR HANDS and you
> will cut down your chances of acquiring most parasites in the U.S.
> Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)
> Microbiology 22 years

Hear, hear!  It seems that delusional parasitosis is more of a problem in the US
than parasites, themselves.  For many folks in Africa, Asia, and South America,
these parasites are real and just as frightening for them as they are for anyone
On another note: One of the nastiest cases of parasites that I've suffered from
was the aforementioned Giardia.  Got it from spring water in Jefferson County,
Ohio.  Wicked stuff.  Worse than the dysentary I picked up in Honduras.

Robert S. Lewis
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