Parasites and Pestilence: Infectious Public Health Challenges

David Kaufman



If It's Inside You, You Might As Well Know What It Looks Like


    Like all flatworms, Gastrodiscoides hominis is bilaterally symmetrical and lacks a coelem. It is an amphistome with reddish color, measuring 5-8 mm long by 3-5 mm wide with a slender anterior region. The organism is characterized by two suckers; there is an anterior oral sucker into which the alimentary canal opens, and a more posterior ventral sucker (known as the acetabulum sucker) by which the worm attaches itself to the host. A muscular espophagus lies within the oral cavity, from where the intestine branches to form two intestinal ceca. The posterior region is round, housing reproductive organs and a ventral concave disc with the sucker.
   Reproductive organs occupy much of body, consisting of two lobed testes and an oval shaped ovary located posterior to the testes. The uterus winds forward to the genital pore; it is the largest organ in the body, filled with thousands of eggs. The unembryonated eggs are greenish-gray and passed in the feces. Eggs are oddly shaped, resembling a rhomboid, and measure ~130-160mm x ~70 mm.