Can you get a parasite from kissing or can it cause vertigo?

Can a parasite cause vertigo?

First of all, it is important to define what is exactly vertigo. Vertigo is not considered as a diagnosis in itself, but more as a sensation experienced by the patient. This sensation is considered as a kind of dizziness that includes the perception that the individual or the room where he stands is moving, usually in a rotating way. Consequently, it is often viewed as a spinning sensation. Vertigo can be caused by many diseases, but also by other non-medical causes, such as drug usage.

However, vertigo is not a common known symptom of parasitic diseases. In fact, this particular symptom does not seem to appear in any classical clinical presentation of any parasite. However, the larger term of dizziness, which includes a sensation of light-headedness, a feeling of being about to pass out or to be unbalanced, is frequent in the classical clinical presentation of many parasitic diseases. In fact, this particular sensation had been experienced by a lot of people suffering from different types of parasitic diseases. This is somewhat to be expected, as dizziness is a very vague term used when someone is not feeling very well.

Even if vertigo is not part of the classical symptoms caused by parasites, its occurrence cannot be completely excluded as specific individuals can experience specific symptoms. Furthermore, rare symptoms associated with parasitic diseases can also occur in a small proportion of people. Finally, as anxiety and major stress are common causes of vertigo, we cannot exclude that anxiety caused by the knowledge to be infected with a parasite can be the cause of vertigo.

Finally, it is also interesting to note that vertigo has been observed as a side effect of some anti-parasitic drugs. For example, vertigo is a common side effect of the drug Nifurtimox commonly used to treat Chagas disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Merck Manual

Can you get a parasite from kissing?

Parasites are not usually considered as contagious infectious agents, meaning that they are not usually transmitted from one person to another. Furthermore, parasites and their eggs are not found in the saliva of infected people and kissing someone on the mouth is then not a usual way to acquire parasites. In other words, it is usually not possible to acquired parasites by kissing someone on the mouth.

However, as many parasites are transmitted by the fecal-oral route, meaning that a contact with something contaminated with faeces from an infected person or animal is required to transmit the parasite, it is theoretically possible to get infected while kissing on the mouth a person who, just a moment ago, got infected by a parasite by eating food or drinking water contaminated with faeces. Although theoretically possible, this type of situation is very rare and unlikely.

However, even though they are not considered as a major mode of transmission of parasites, it is more likely to catch a parasitic disease from another person by kissing other parts of the body than the mouth. For example, kissing the hands of someone infected by an intestinal parasite that had not been washed after going to the toilet can contribute to transmit intestinal parasites. Furthermore, some sexual practices, such as oral-anal contacts, are also susceptible to transmit some intestinal parasites.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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