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delusional parasitosis

Dr. Peter W. Pappas pappas.3 at osu.edu
Thu Mar 12 07:58:19 EST 1998

I do not know if there's been an increase in such cases, but there's
sure plenty to go around.  When my website (Parasites and
Parasitological Resources) first went online, I would typically get 30
to 40 such inquires each month.  It got so bad that I finally put in a
statement that such inquires would not be answered, so now I only get
about 10 to 15 such inquires a month.  I guess that the inability to
read and delusional parasitosis go hand-iin-hand.

Without a doubt, one of the main reasons for such cases is the
phenomenal number of websites offering "alternative treatments" for
parasitic infections.  Virtually every one of these sites contains
references to articles and books (some of which do not even exist)
that imply that a very high percentage of people in the US are
infected with parasites, and that these parasites can causes a variety
of other diseases.  Obviously, the information in these websites
frightens people (just as it is intended to do), and if they are
suffering from any type of gastrointestinal disorder or other malady
of unknown origin they think they're infected with a parasite.  A
number of these websites show pictures of parasites that infect
humans.  One site shows the scolex of Hymenolepis diminuta (which
rarely infects humans and is probably never pathogenic).  Then there's
the pictures of schistosomes.  How many people with access to the web
are going to be infected with schistosomes?

Whether the products offered by these websites are effective remains
to be determined.  Some of the products do contain compounds that are
known to be effective against some parasites, but virtually none of
these products has been tested clinically.  Such products are
unregulated, so the user has no idea of their purity or composition.
While some (perhaps many) of the products are useless in the treatment
of parasites, they do generate income for those selling the products.
There are also a number of "devices" available over the web that make
various claims about curing parasites.  These include magnets,
pyramids, radionic devices (e.g., Welz-Chi generators), and crystals,
and the famous (or infamous) ZAPPER.  This latter device is marketed,
in one form or another, through at least 20 different websites.

To people suffering from delusional parasitosis and considering such
treatments or devices, the only comment I had is, caveat emptor.


I get about 15 to 20 such inquires each month, even though I state
specifically that such inquires will On Tue, 10 Mar 1998 13:27:43
-0600, "Steve J. Upton" <coccidia at ksu.edu> wrote:

>Is it just me, or is there a increase in delusional parasitosis this
>year?  I'm averaging 2 per month now, and in the past I would only get
>1-2 per year.  I'd be interested in some of your opinions.  I've been
>directing some of these people to the web pages at UC Davis on
>delusional parasitosis.
>Steve J. Upton
>Kansas State University

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