Tag: Parasites

He Was Unbearably Itchy, but the Problem Wasn’t in His Skin

“I feel like my body has been taken over by aliens!” the thin 82-year-old man exclaimed. Dr. Melissa Iammatteo, the chief of allergy and immunology at Westmed Medical Group in Purchase, N.Y., nodded sympathetically. This was her first appointment with the older man, who had come to discuss the itchy rash that had made his […]

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There Are Parasitic Wasps, and Then There’s the Crypt-Keeper

To deposit its eggs, the parasitic oak gall wasp pierces a leaf or stem with its ovipositor, a long tubelike organ that would be a stinger if this wasp were the kind that stings. The plant puffs and swells, forming tumor-like growths called galls. These serve as tiny nursery domes, known cutely (for a parasite) […]

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These Ants Use Germ-Killers, and They’re Better Than Ours

As a microbiologist, Massimiliano Marvasi has spent years studying how microbes have defeated us. Many pathogens have evolved resistance to penicillin and other antimicrobial drugs, and now public health experts are warning of a global crisis in treating infectious diseases. These days, Dr. Marvasi, a senior researcher at the University of Florence in Italy, finds […]

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What’s Killing California’s Sea Otters? House Cats.

For a sea otter, a bad infection with the Toxoplasma parasite may feel a bit like drowning. “The brain is no longer able to function and tell the body how to swim,” said Dr. Karen Shapiro, a veterinarian and pathologist at the University of California, Davis. The parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, enters the otter orally and […]

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In Hawaii, Rat Lungworm Disease Infects People but Eludes Researchers

A tropical parasite transmitted through rats and snails has caught the attention of health officials in Hawaii. But few scientists have studied the infection once it makes its way into humans, and researchers can’t say for certain whether the disease is becoming more widespread. The parasite, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, typically resides in a rat’s pulmonary arteries […]

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Drugged, Castrated, Eager to Mate: the Lives of Fungi-Infected Cicadas

Beneath the soil, cicadas wait — as long as 17 years — until the right temperature beckons them to the surface. At once, they emerge, like zombies rising from graves. They greet the sun, preparing to molt into adults in coming weeks and then fly off to mate. Such is a cicada’s simple life — […]

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