Parasites can cause anything from lighter parasitic infection such as with pinworms that spread in preschools to more exotic parasites that we unknowingly can be brought with us home after for example a trip abroad. One of the biggest lessons in my own challenge to identify my uninvited guests was that parasites was the last thing my doctor suspected or looked for.
My symptoms started when I lived abroad, they were difficult to define and diffuse. It was noticeable that I felt far from healthy or in the top shape I used to be in and more noticeable was that I had a form of skin rash (hives also called urticaria) which did not correspond to how much worse my general condition was. During the time I was being investigated for my symptoms I had very good communication and cooperation with my attending physician. It should also be added that my doctor was both thorough and investigated my symptoms in depth by ordering several blood tests and at least as many different examinations before we finally found the cause – well one of them!
It was only when my doctor ordered a so-called “standard microscopy test” (a microscopic analysis) for parasitic infections that we began to open up the cause of my symptoms and my health problems. Over time it would turn out to be many more parasites in my body than what we found there and then and it became clear from all the subsequent parasite tests I then underwent that they were both costly and not always completely successful in identifying and determining all the parasites I harbored. Today’s parasitic analyses, more specifically those used as a first step when investigating a suspected parasitic infection, are often based solely on a microscopy analysis.
There are many margins of error in a microscopy analysis and reasons why parasites can be missed and it depends both on with what accuraccy and to what extent the sample is analysed. With those prerequisites and possible margins of error it is easy to miss one or more parasitic infections in connection with the execution of a microscopic analysis. In my case, several repeated parasitic tests were required, which also included other supplementary analysis methods – for example a so-called PCR analysis.
PCR is the abbreviation for polymerase chain reaction and in comparison to a microscopic analysis a PCR is not based on the ability to identify the parasite by visualising it – instead it identifies the parasite’s genetic material (DNA) directly in the sample. PCR analysis is often a necessary complementary analysis method to microscopy to ensure a reliable test result in parasitic infections. The Parasite Clinic started after I myself experienced uninvited guests (parasites) and several after in-depth dialogues with specialist physicians in the field in both Europe and the USA. It became clear that there was a huge need for our services. Now that the business is up and running it has become even more evident that many unknowingly carry parasites and to what extent parasitic infections affect one’s health.
The difficulty of reaching a diagnosis for my own symptoms and finding reliable parasitic tests gave me further insights into how it was possible to improve the prospects for those affected by parasitic infections and the need for affordable, easily accessible and reliable ways to test oneself for parasitic infections. When I myself started working with parasitic tests I wanted to make sure that we could offer the best analysis methods and evaluated several different laboratories in Europe as well as in the US before choosing one of the most accurate laboratories and analyses such as for example the Real time PCR method we offer in our parasitic tests. The Real Time quantitative PCR is a PCR analysis that reacts with extremely small amounts of species-specific DNA in the samples and which has a very high accuracy in the identification of Parasitic DNA. Parasites are often seen as something unusual in the UK and as something more common in other parts of the world.
If you look at the way we live today, what we eat and how we travel, it is perhaps not entirely unthinkable that even those in the UK and in Europe could become carriers of parasitic infections – affect our well-being and health. The only way to be able to determine if a parastitic infection is causing the symptoms you are experiencing is to perform a parasitic investigation with reliable parasitic tests and I would claim that we can offer you just that!
Former Parasite host,