General Practice 2022

7 diseasesças caused by protozoa´rise: symptoms and treatment

7 diseasesças caused by protozoa´rise: symptoms and treatment
7 diseasesças caused by protozoa´rise: symptoms and treatment

Protozoa are simple microorganisms, since they consist of only 1 cell, and are responsible for infectious diseases that can be transmitted from person to person, as in the case of Trichomoniasis, for example, or through the bite or insect bites, as in the case of Leishmaniasis and Chagas Disease.

Diseases transmitted by protozoa can be avoided through simple measures, such as washing hands before and after preparing food or having contact with animals, using condoms during sexual intercourse and wearing long-sleeved pants and shirt or repellent in regions that are at risk of malaria, for example.

1. Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, which has cats as its definitive host and humans as an intermediate host. Thus, people can be infected by this parasite through ingestion of Toxoplasma gondii cysts present in soil, water or food, through ingestion of feces from infected cats, or through mother-to-child transmission, also called transplacental, what happens when the pregnant woman acquires toxoplasmosis and does not undergo adequate treatment, and the parasite can pass through the placenta and infect the baby.

The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is made mainly through immunological tests that indicate the concentration of antibodies against the parasite circulating in the blood. In addition to immunological tests, the physician must take into account the symptoms presented by the patient, although the symptoms are often similar to other parasites.

Main symptoms: Most of the time toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic, however, in pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, symptoms may appear between 5 to 20 days according to the form of contagion. The main symptoms related to toxoplasmosis are the appearance of bumps on the neck, headache, red spots on the body, fever and muscle pain. Know how to recognize the symptoms of toxoplasmosis.

How the treatment is done: The treatment for toxoplasmosis is done with the aim of eliminating the parasite from the body, and the doctor usually recommends the use of medication, such as For example Pyrimethamine associated with Sulfadiazine. During pregnancy, in case of diagnosis of toxoplasmosis, it is important that treatment is carried out quickly to avoid fetal malformations and complications during pregnancy. Understand how toxoplasmosis treatment is done.

How to prevent: The main way to prevent toxoplasmosis is through proper hygiene of food before consumption.In addition, as this protozoan has the cat as a host, it is also important to regularly take the cat to the vet and wear protective gloves and masks when changing the litter box, for example.

2. Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan of the genus Leishmania which, depending on the species responsible for the infection, can cause symptoms that vary from mild to severe. One of the most frequently found species in Brazil is Leishmania braziliensis, which is usually related to more severe clinical manifestations.

Transmission of Leishmania species happens through the bite of a fly of the Lutzomyia genus, popularly called straw mosquito, which, when biting people, for example, deposits the parasite that was located in their digestive system. According to the species and symptoms presented by the patient, leishmaniasis can be classified as cutaneous or cutaneous leishmaniasis, mucocutaneous leishmaniasis and visceral leishmaniasis, each with specific characteristics.See how to identify visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Main symptoms: In the case of cutaneous leishmaniasis, the initial symptoms usually appear between two weeks and three months after infection by the protozoan, with the appearance of one or more nodules at the bite site that can develop into an open, painless wound within a few weeks.

In the case of mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, the lesions are more serious and rapidly progress to open lesions involving the mucosa and cartilage, especially the nose, pharynx, and mouth. These injuries can result in difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing, which can increase the risk of infection and result in death, for example.

As for visceral leishmaniasis, the symptoms have a chronic evolution and there is usually frequent fever, enlargement of the spleen and liver, anemia, weight loss and edema, which should be treated quickly, since people with this type of leishmaniasis can rapidly progress to cachexia and, consequently, death.

How is the treatment done: Treatment for leishmaniasis is done when the initial lesions are very large, multiply or result in debilitating symptoms, and the use of Pentavalent Antimonials, such as Amphotericin B, Pentamidine and Aminosidine, for example, which should be used according to the type of leishmaniasis and doctor's advice.

How to prevent: to prevent leishmaniasis, it is important to use repellent, long-sleeved blouses or long pants, in addition to putting screens on windows and doors, for example, a since in this way it is possible to prevent the bite of the mosquito infected by the protozoan.

3. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is an infectious and sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the protozoan Trichomonas sp., the most commonly found species being Trichomonas vaginalis. Infection with this parasite can happen in both men and women, causing symptoms similar to urinary tract infections.

Main symptoms: In women, the symptoms of trichomoniasis take about 3 to 20 days to appear, and there may be a greenish-yellow discharge with a strong odor, pain during sexual intercourse, painful urination and increased urge to pee. In men, the main symptoms are clear, viscous and not very abundant discharge and discomfort when urinating. Learn how to identify trichomoniasis.

How the treatment is done: The treatment for trichomoniasis is done with the use of antibiotics according to medical advice, being normally indicated the use of Tinidazole or Metronidazole, for example. It is important that both the infected person and their partner undergo treatment for trichomoniasis even if there are no symptoms.

How to prevent: in the case of trichomoniasis, prevention involves the use of condoms in all sexual relations, as this protozoan is transmitted sexually.

4. Chagas Disease

Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. This disease is transmitted through the bite of the insect popularly known as barbeiro, which immediately after biting the person, defecates, releasing the parasite, and when the person scratches the place, it ends up spreading the protozoan and allowing its entry into the body.

Although the barber sting is the most common form of transmission of the parasite, Chagas disease can also be acquired through transfusion of contaminated blood, from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, and through consumption of food contaminated by the barber or its excrements, mainly sugar cane and açaí. Learn more about Chagas disease.

Main symptoms: The symptoms of Chagas disease vary according to the host's immunity, and can be asymptomatic, in which the parasite stays in the body for years without causing symptoms, or having symptoms that range from mild to severe depending on the amount of parasites in the person's body and immune system.

The main symptoms related to Chagas disease are fever, swelling at the bite site, enlarged liver and spleen, swelling and pain of the lymph nodes and general malaise. In addition, cardiac involvement is common, leading to an enlarged heart and swelling of the eyelids.

How the treatment is done: The treatment for Chagas disease is not yet very well established, however, it is usually indicated that patients with Chagas are treated with the use of of Nifurtimox and Benzonidazole.

How to prevent: one way to prevent Chagas disease is to put screens and mosquito nets on windows and doors, so that it is possible to prevent the insect from entering the environment and, thus, prevent the sting. In addition, it is recommended to give preference to the consumption of pasteurized plant foods.

5. Giardiasis

Giardiasis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Giardia lamblia, which is the only species of the genus Giardia capable of infecting and causing symptoms in people.This disease is more common in children and can be transmitted through the ingestion of Giardia lamblia cysts present in water, food or contaminated environment, in addition to direct contact with contaminated people, and this form of transmission is common in places where there are many people. and does not have adequate sanitary conditions. Learn more about what giardiasis is and how it is transmitted.

Main symptoms: The symptoms of giardiasis appear 1 to 3 weeks after contact with the protozoan and are mainly intestinal, and there may be abdominal cramps, increased production of intestinal gas, poor digestion, unintentional weight loss, and diarrhea that can be mild and persistent or severe.

How the treatment is done: The treatment for giardiasis involves the use of antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs, such as Metronidazole, Secnidazole, Tinidazole or Albendazole, which should be used as directed of the doctor. In addition, due to diarrhea, it is important for the person to drink plenty of fluids during treatment in order to prevent dehydration, which is common in these cases.

In more severe cases, when diarrhea is intense and persistent, it is recommended that the person be referred to the nearest he alth post or hospital so that they receive saline directly into the vein and, thus, dehydration can be avoided.

How to prevent: To prevent giardiasis, it is important to wash your hands regularly, wash your vegetables before eating, especially those that are eaten raw, and drink only filtered water or properly treated by boiling.

6. Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis is a very common infectious disease in children, it is caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica and is transmitted mainly through the ingestion of cysts present in water or food contaminated with feces. When the cysts enter the body, they remain lodged in the wall of the digestive tract and release active forms of the parasite, which reproduce and travel to the person's intestine, causing digestive symptoms.Learn more about amoebiasis.

Main symptoms: Entamoeba histolytica can remain in the body without causing symptoms for years, however it is more common that about 2 to 4 weeks after infection, symptoms begin to appear. symptoms. The main symptoms related to amoebiasis are abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, nausea, excessive tiredness and the presence of blood or secretions in the stool.

How the treatment is done: The treatment of amoebiasis is simple and should be done with Metronidazole according to the doctor's guidance. Despite being an easy-to-treat parasitic disease, it is important to start as soon as the first symptoms appear, as Entamoeba histolytica is able to cross the intestinal wall and spread through the bloodstream, reaching other organs and causing more severe symptoms..

How to prevent: to prevent amoebiasis, it is important to pay attention to the hygiene of food before consuming it, in addition to drinking only filtered or boiled water.

7. Malaria

Malaria is caused by the bite of a female mosquito of the genus Anopheles infected by the parasite of the genus Plasmodium spp. The main species of the parasite found in Brazil are Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. This parasite, when entering the body, goes to the liver, where it multiplies, and then arrives in the bloodstream, being able to destroy red blood cells, for example.

Although infrequent, malaria transmission can also occur through contaminated blood transfusion, sharing contaminated syringes or laboratory accidents, for example.

Main symptoms: The incubation period of malaria, which is the time between contact with the causative agent of the disease and the appearance of the first symptoms, varies according to the species of protozoan. In the case of P. malariae, the incubation period is 18 to 40 days, that of P.falciparum is 9 to 14 days and that of P. vivax is 12 to 17 days.

The initial symptoms of malaria are similar to those of other infectious diseases, with malaise, headache, tiredness and muscle pain. These symptoms usually precede the characteristic symptoms of malaria, which are usually related to the ability of the parasite to enter and destroy red blood cells, such as fever, sweating, chills, nausea, vomiting, headache and weakness.

In the most severe cases, especially when the infection occurs in children, pregnant women, non-immune adults and people with compromised immune systems, there may be seizures, jaundice, hypoglycemia and changes in the state of consciousness, for example.

How the treatment is done: To treat malaria, the doctor usually recommends the use of antimalarial drugs, which are provided free of charge by the SUS, according to the species of Plasmodium, severity of symptoms, age and immune status of the person.Thus, the use of Chloroquine, Primaquine or Artesunate and Mefloquine, for example, may be recommended.

How to prevent: to prevent malaria, it is recommended to wear lighter colored clothes and thin fabric, use DEET-based repellent, put protective screens on windows and doors and avoid areas with the highest number of malaria cases. In addition, if the person goes to a place with many cases of malaria, the doctor may, in some cases, recommend prophylactic treatment with some antimalarial drugs.

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