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Bob/Judy Dilworth dilworth at megsinet.net
Mon Feb 22 19:17:08 EST 1999

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

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