Written by Rachel Arieff
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Worms are dangerous parasites that we might not think about much anymore if we're living in societies with healthy, sanitary conditions. It's true that third world countries continue to be plagued with parasites found in animal feces and drinking water, and parasite-related health problems are an unfortunate part of daily life. However, are people in modern, industrialized societies still susceptible to parasitic infections? Regrettably, the answer is, "Yes."

Over 100 parasitic worm varieties can live in the human body, ranging in size from microscopic to 30-foot-long tapeworms. People can contract worm parasites from undercooked beef, pork and fish; each type of meat has its own variety of parasite. Insect bites are another source, as well as contaminated water, contact with infected people, and human or animal feces that contain worms. Worm parasites can be ingested or breathed in. They can enter through the skin or through any of the orifices on the human body.

What Do Worms Do?

Once in the body, where does the worm go? Most worm parasites end up in the intestinal tract, where, for lack of a better term, they "set up shop." Why do they choose the intestines? Well, for one thing, most people have constipated, poorly functioning bowels that are coated with a thick, hard layer of plaque. This plaque keeps digested food from being absorbed properly into the bloodstream. What happens to the food? It just sits there, ferments, and joins the buildup on the bowel wall ... or it becomes dinner for a parasite.

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