• Culture

20 Parasites That Could Ruin Your Next Vacation

List RulesVote up the parasites you'd absolutely hate to get while traveling.

Traveling is so much fun, right? Getting to see different parts of the world, immersing yourself in new cultures and languages, it's all so incredible. Your biggest worry (until now) has probably been losing your passport or something. That's only because you've probably never had to deal with many of the horrific and disgusting parasites you can get while traveling. They can range from annoying, but harmless to so deadly you'll never know what hit you.

But you only get parasites if you go to really unsanitary little villages in the middle of nowhere, right? Unfortunately, that's a huge no. Both local and international travel parasites are problematic, so even if you're staying close to home, you might not be completely safe from their... intrusions. If you're itching to know more, come take this distressing little tour and explore parasites around the world. 

Just a brief warning: Some of these images are pretty graphic and very gross. Fascinating, but really, really gross. So read on, if you dare. 
  • 1

    Naegleria Fowleri

    Photo: SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    The most frightening thing about Naegleria Fowleri is that there's no way to detect it, there's no way to cure it, and it kills you 97% of the time. What happens is this: when you swim, sometimes water gets in your nose, and sometimes a particularly horrible amoeba can come with it. This amoeba travels to your skull, where it eats your brain, and eventually kills you. You cannot get it by drinking water, but swimming in hot springs, rivers, lakes, and even natural pools in tropical environments can put you at risk.
    Is this scary?
  • 2


    Photo: SuSanA Secretariat / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Lets get a really gross one out of the way early, shall we? Ascaris is the most common type of roundworm, and it more commonly effects children rather than adults. It passes into your system when you drink unsafe water that is infected with human fecal matter, or come into contact with infected soil. Once inside you, these worms start at your lungs, then move to your intestines where they multiply until they can literally spill out of your butt, and sometimes your mouth or nose. While many countries have this friendly little worm, it is most commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas, such as Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
    Is this scary?
  • 3

    Filarial Worm

    Photo: Internet Archive Book Images / flickr / No known copyright restrictions
    These worms don't just make you sick, they also make you physically deformed as well. The thread-like worms are passed from mosquitoes into the blood stream, and they then make their way to the lymphatic system. Once there, the worms can make your lymph nodes malfunction, and can make parts of your body swell up, get hard and lumpy, and even develop elephantiasis. For men, a particular area of concern is the scrotum. The bug is typically found in Asia, so be sure to bring your mosquito repellant. 
    Is this scary?
  • 4

    Loa Loa

    Photo: Community Eye Health / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Well, I hope you didn't want to sleep tonight, because this thing is major nightmare fuel. This horrifying parasite is also called the African Eye Worm. Can you guess why? No? Well, this worm moves from a deer fly bite into your body, where it then makes its way to your eye. (Google it if you dare.) What's worse is that it's sometimes difficult to cure, and can last for years. The one bit of good news is that you can only get it if you travel to West and Central Africa.
    Is this scary?