Humans and Parasites Essay

2061 WordsDec 10, 20129 Pages
Parasites and Humans: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? Introduction The definition of a parasite is: “an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.” (Dictionary.com,2012) There are several kinds of parasitic relationships in the world. Mutualism is one of them. This occurs when each member of the association benefits the other. Can humans and parasites have a mutualistic relationship in medicine? Dating back to the B.C. era it has been believed that parasites, most commonly leeches and maggots, were the cure for various maladies. Leeches at one time were thought to cure everything from obesity to mental illness. In the early 20th century…show more content…
Despite the lack of food and water, being exposed to the elements during those seven days, and the severity of the wounds, the doctor found that the men had no fever, and there was no evidence of sepsis. When their clothing was removed the doctor discovered that the wounds were filled with blow fly maggots. The maggots were washed from the injuries to find that the exposed bone and tissue were in perfect condition. Cultures were taken with very few bacteria still present. Ten years later Dr. Baer would use this theory on four children with osteomyelitis which is a disease causing inflammation of the bone and bone marrow usually caused by reoccurring bacterial infections. (Dictionary.com, 2012) All four children had had several surgeries for this, all of which had failed to heal. The doctor obtained maggots from his neighborhood and trying to copy most of the conditions that he observed with the soldiers he attempted his experiment. He used no chemical antibiotics, no iodine to clean the area, surgery was done bare handed and using only water. This way if the wound healed it would be strictly due to the maggots. Dr. Baer continued his treatment of maggot therapy to find that in six weeks the wounds these children suffered from had healed completely. In the spring of 1929 more cases were submitted using this form of treatment with the same results. (Baer, 1931) During the early to
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