Thursday, August 1, 2019

Answer to Case 555 - Parasites and the Number Five

Wow - we received so many excellent comments on how parasites and the number 5 go together! Here are many of them - in no particular order - for your viewing pleasure:
  1. Pentatrichomonas hominis is a nonpathogenic intestinal flagellate named for its 5 flagella (penta from the Greek pente, meaning five + trich, pertaining to hair [flagella]). By Neil Anderson and Bernardino Rocha.
  2. There are 5 lobes of the lung, and all can be infected by Paragonimus species. By Brian Duresko.
  3. The are 5 Plasmodium species that are responsible for the bulk of malaria in humans: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi (the latter is a zoonotic parasite and important cause of malaria in regions of SE Asia). By Aimee Boerger, Nipunie Rajapakse, and LS.
  4. Pentastomes have a name meaning "five openings". Although having a single mouth, there are 2 pairs of hollow fang-like hooks beside the mouth. These fangs can be retracted into slits giving the appearance of 5 mouths. By Old One.
  5. Quintan fever, also known as trench fever, is due to infection with the bacterium Bartonella quintana, and is transmitted by the body louse, Pediculus humanus humanus. The infection is characterized by fevers that recur every five days; hence the name of the bacterium and the resultant disease. By Kristin Nagaro.
  6. The gametocytes of Plasmodium vivax appear in the blood ~5 days after the liver stage, whereas it takes 10-12 days for P. falciparum to appear. Thus, P. vivax infection can be acquired by mosquitoes at the very first blood stage cycle, and this may confer a transmission advantage for P. vivax over P. falciparum. Plasmodium vivax has the most widespread distribution of the human malaria-causing Plasmodium spp., and the early gametocytemia will have important implications for malaria eradication. By BW in Vt.
  7. Pentamidine is a drug used to treat some protozoal infections such as leishmaniasis and African trypanosomiasis. The first part of the drug's name comes from the pentane component which has 5 carbon atoms (C5H12). By Andy Norgan.
  8. Human parasites can be divided into 5 major groups: protozoa, platyhelminthes, acanthocephala, nematoda, and arthropoda. By Bernardino Rocha.
  9. The 5 main symptoms of giardiasis are diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, weakness, weight loss. By bks. I use a similar one - the 5 "F's" of giardiasis: Foul-smelling Fatty Feces that Floats and Flatulence.
  10. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has targeted 5 neglected parasitic infections (Chagas disease, neurocysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, and trichomoniasis) as priorities for public health action, based on the numbers of people infected, the severity of illnesses, or our ability to prevent and treat them. Anonymous.
  11. Toxoplasmosis, a protozoal infection, in one of the ‘infamous 5’ TORCH infections that cause congenital abnormalities; the acronym stands for Toxoplasmosis, Other (syphilis, VZV, parvovirus b-19), Rubella, CMV, and Herpes simplex virus infections. By Vik Holenarasipur and Anonymous.
  12. Human bot flies (and other insects) have 5 eyes - 2 are compound and 3 are simple. This paper wasp (below) is not a parasite, but was willing to pose for a photograph of its five eyes. By John Carlson (@JohnCarlsonMD).
There were also some wonderful stories and poems with 5 lines or words/line:
From Blaine Mathison:

Many of the earth-based religions use the pentagram to represent the Five Elements: Spirit, Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Many religious beliefs are grounded in scientific phenomena that were unknown at the time. What many people do not know, is the earth religions are rooted in Parasitology!

Spirit represents Loa loa and its microfilariae that circulate in the body. This belief is shared with Voodoo as the term 'loa' is a spirit in Voodoo religion.

Water represents Schistosoma, as water is natural reservoir for which the spirit enters the body.

Fire represents Trichomonas vaginalis, as people occupied by this spirit often have a burning sensation.

Earth represents Strongyloides stercoralis as they enter the body from the soil. Some liken Strongyloides to Mother Earth as she can create life in a host without a male counterpart.

Air represents Plasmodium, as it is carried by flying arthropods! And its erythrocytic cycle created periods of suffering and relief, as a reminder Life is a balance of Good and Evil.

If you have read this far, yes I am being silly and having fun, letting the creative juices overflow a bit :-D
From Old One:

Now in Rochester’s sunny clime
Where I used to spend me time
A-servin’ the majestic Clinic Mayo
Of all that brilliant crew
The finest Doc I knew
Was Dr. Pritt, Diagnostic Mistro

It was Dr. Pritt, Pritt, Pritt
Most skillfull Parasite Gal, Dr.Pritt
Hi! Slippy Hitherao
Diagnosis please, Panee Lao
And be quick, about it. “Lickety split” Dr. Pritt

This noble Parasite Gal
Has a blog that’s really swell
Which has been followed round the globe for many years
She’s now at 555
And if I stay alive
I expect to see 666. Note to Satan, please stand clear

If I’m ever on campaign
Licking boots and water green
I will make tracts to Dr. Pritt at Mayo Clinic
She’s the one to check my blood and stool
Mama didn’t raise a fool
For I’ll surely have a case most parasitic
Also from Old One:

Zen queries to Madam Ascaris
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
What does a three lip smile look like?

A happy worm is the ascarid
Swims in chyme and squirms like a squid
As happy as she is
She has but one regret
“How do you smile with three lips on the tip of ones head?”
From Sir Galahad,
5 verses of J.Swift:

Big fleas...
Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite' em
And little fleas have lesser fleas
And so, ad infinitum

(Filastrocca di Jonathan Swift
Disegno di Robert Hegner, 1938)

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