Parasites: Tales of Humanity's Most Unwelcome Guests
University of California Press; 1 edition (August 10, 2010) ISBN: 0520259386 280 pages PDF 2.8 MB


As Drisdelle, a clinical parasitologist, shows, human parasites come in many forms and use a panoply of strategies to make a living. As she writes, [H]undreds of species live in human intestines, skin, lungs, muscle, brain, liver, blood, and everywhere else they can find a niche. They can do remarkable damage to every physiological system, leading to death, blindness, and behavioral changes. Drisdelle discusses amoebae, roundworms, tapeworms, mites, and others, often in too much detail. She also examines the historical context in which some parasites have found their way to us and notes their effect on world events, such as the impact Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoa that causes malaria, had on the course of the Vietnam War. She notes that some scholars have even credited malaria with bringing down the Roman Empire.... On the positive side, she demonstrates that, in some cases, with enough political will, dramatic improvements in public health can be made. This is definitely not a book for the squeamish, and readers who lack a special interest in parasites will find it tedious. 29 b&w photos, 2 maps. (June)
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