Chagas disease isn’t well-known in America, but it’s been around for thousands of years. A parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) causes it.
The disease infects up to 8 million people, mostly in Latin America. But cases recently started popping up in Texas.
Paragonimiasis is caused by infection with a flatworm. That's a parasitic worm also called a fluke or lung fluke because it commonly infects the lungs. Usually, infection comes after eating undercooked crab or crayfish that carry immature flukes.
Once swallowed by a person, the worms mature and grow inside the body. Over months, the worms spread through the intestines and belly (abdomen). They penetrate the diaphragm muscle to enter the lungs. Once inside the lungs, the worms lay eggs and can survive for years, causing chronic (long-term) paragonimiasis.
Paragonimiasis is rare in the U.S. Most cases occur in Asia, West Africa, and South and Central America.
Paragonimiasis causes no symptoms during initial infection. Many people with paragonimiasis never experience any symptoms. When paragonimiasis symptoms do occur, they result from the worms’ location and activity in the body, which change over time.
In the first month or so after someone is infected, paragonimiasis worms spread through the abdomen, sometimes causing symptoms that can include: