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Why don't people get Heartworm?

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Why don't people get Heartworm?

Post  Not Afraid on 5/7/2011, 3:07 am

I'm sitting here in bed scratching my legs because I was eaten alive by mosquitoes. We had 3 days of hot weather and, apparently, the newly hatched buggers thought I was a good first meal. I have about 15 bites on my legs and, while joking about getting malaria, I started thinking about heartworm in dogs and cats and wondering why people don't get it.

Or do they?
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Re: Why don't people get Heartworm?

Post  Aussie Witch on 5/7/2011, 5:36 am

When you think of the devastating affect on dogs that have it, you wonder why people don't give the medication. So easy, so effective. hair pull
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Re: Why don't people get Heartworm?

Post  PugLady3 on 5/7/2011, 9:07 am

From the American Heartworm Society's web page:

"Can people get heartworm disease from a mosquito bite?

Answer: Yes, it is possible. Fortunately, people are not natural hosts for heartworms. However, there have been cases in which the larvae migrate to the person's heart and lung arteries. In these cases, the larvae died before they matured into adult worms and the person's body produced "scar tissue" around the worm. This can look like a spot on the lungs on an X-ray.

According to medical reports, most people (over 50 percent) infected with a heartworm or two never had symptoms, but some people (33 percent) had chest pains, some (20 percent) had a cough, and fewer (15 percent) had a fever. About 1 percent experienced spitting up blood or difficulty breathing. Most people that are diagnosed with heartworms are "smokers." When the physician sees the white spot (called a "coin lesion") on the chest X-ray, they are also concerned that it might be primary lung cancer. Additional testing or even surgery (to remove the suspect spots) may occur. It is after surgical removal and microscopic evaluation of the spot that some of these cases have been identified as heartworm, rather than cancer. Unfortunately, there is no reliable diagnostic test for heartworm disease in humans."
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Re: Why don't people get Heartworm?

Post  Puggered on 5/9/2011, 8:33 am

Basic answer is this is a parasite that has evolved to live and breed in canine organs, not human ones.

The nasty horrible devastasting effect it can have on dogs is pretty much matched by the nasty horrible effect that Hydatid tapeworms can have in people, and part of the hydatid life cycle needs a canid host.

Different parasites choose different hosts but in some cases, they can cross over. We do need to be vigilant in parasite prevention to protect all out family - fur and skin.
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Re: Why don't people get Heartworm?

Post  Nan and BAGS on 5/16/2011, 11:52 am

Amen - and I feel the same way about flea treatment..... If you ever had a house with fleas? ugh. NEVER.AGAIN. And I didnt even own an animal at that time!!!
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