The life that lives on us
I think it is possible that what we see as the Universe could simply be a collection of blood cells floating in plasma/ether inside another body. Imagine if we were simply a floating cell in the stomach of a large being. The cells inside us could be worlds of their own and they could have astronomers in there who look at other cells and call them stars. The human body is not a collection of “human” cells. We are a world, a planet, of millions of creatures which are simply not human and which, seen under a microscope cause a normal person to recoil in horror!
More than 70% of the human body is made of other beings. If an artist were to paint a body looking through a sophisticated microscope, what you would see is a hybrid creature like the man-lion-eagle form of mythology, except with many more combinations of beasts. At least 500 species of bacteria, weighing about 1.5 kg, live inside the human gut. Firmicutes and Bacteroides are the main families that live inside your intestine. They break down carbohydrates and make essential nutrients like vitamins K and B12. They battle all the time with the bad bacteria warriors. Good bacteria —notably members of the Lactobacillus family—inhabit the vagina, secreting lactic acid and fending off hostile invaders like Candida albicans.
Microbes, fungi, virus, animals, insects – all of them contribute to making a “human being”. For all the creatures that live in and on us, our bodies are simply food. Like us, bacteria on the surface jealously guard their home and invading bacteria find it difficult to find nutrients and space to grow. Invading bacteria can also be attacked by existing bacteria using chemical warfare.
In fact, you are not even the only animal using your face. In the vicinity of your nose, there are at least two species of microscopic mites living in your pores. Demodex mites are microscopic relatives of spiders and ticks that live in and on the skin of humans. These eight-legged beasts live inside the follicles of the eyelashes, coming out at night to roam over your face feeding on skin cells. Generally, they live out their lives unnoticed. But if they multiply then they cause mange, rosacea and blepharitis in humans. Every human sample of DNA has also shown demodex mite DNA as well. The two species on our faces, Demodex folliculorum (long, skinny) and Demodex brevis (short, chubby), are not even close relatives. We just share the same space. And just as we have different racial traits so do the mites: D. brevis mites from China are genetically distinct from mites from the Americas, East Asians and European populations.
Thousands of different nations of microscopic bacteria- each shaped and coloured uniquely- live on the tongue, teeth, skin and in the intestine. Perhaps strangest of all are the self-replicating, virus-like pieces of DNA that infected ancient humans, and make up about 8 percent of all our genes. Your body is home to 90 trillion or so microbes which live peaceably. And some really bad ones, like herpes simplex who stay dormant for years or human papillomaviruses which cause pimples, boils and warts, cause surface membranes to erupt in nasty pustules or warts. There are more than 100 types of papillomaviruses and they can extend to causing cancers of the cervix, penis, vagina, anus, and rectum.
From time to time bedbugs, fleas, ticks and lice attack. The more common one is the louse that settles down in a schoolchild’s hair, sucks on human blood and cements its eggs to our hair. The human body louse, Pediculus humanus humanus, looks a lot like the human head louse, but it lays its eggs in the seams of clothing. Overcrowded living conditions and lack of access to clean clothes and bedding help infestations spread, causing typhus and trench fever. The 800 species of ticks feed on many hosts, including humans, and they pass along a menagerie of pathogens, from the bacterium that causes Lyme disease to the virus responsible for Colorado tick fever. The human botfly lays its eggs on a mosquito that passes them on to the human. The botfly larvae burrow into the skin and feed on the host's tissue for a month or two before emerging. Bed bugs are tiny, beige creatures that feed on human blood. They pierce the skin of their host with hollow, tube-shaped tongues. Fleas burrow into their host’s skin and suck their blood. They also feed on the faeces of other fleas. Scabies mites don't suck your blood; they eat your skin. Living in burrows just beneath the surface of the skin, scabies mites cause intense itching and a pimply red rash. Although the mites themselves are too small to see, their burrows sometimes appear on the skin as raised ridges. People that live in leech infested areas can get small leeches in their noses or between their fingers/toes.
Here are some of the alien species that enter your body:
Trichophyton and Epidermophyton are filamentous, parasitic microbes that latch onto bare feet. These species creep into the toenails and display themselves as athletes foot. They move higher and reach the scalp and genitalia, where they trigger ringworm and jock itch.
It is estimated that there are over 100 different types of parasitic worms that can be found living in humans. Many are tiny, while others grow long. When small they travel around the blood stream finding suitable places to grow and develop. They can cause diarrhoea, fatigue, skin rash, nervousness, asthma, anaemia and more.
The Guinea worm’s larvae live in the water you drink. Once the larvae get into the stomach, they pass through the digestive track and enter the anus areas where they grow into three-foot-long adults who poke through the skin.
The Filarial worm lives in the human lymph system brought in through mosquito bites. The worms grow into adults, living up to seven years. Although most people with lymphatic filariasis will not develop symptoms, a percentage will suffer from excess fluid in the legs, arms, breasts and genitalia.
The eye worm, or loa loa, comes through deerfly bites and causes itchy swellings . You can see the tiny worm inching its way across your eyeball.
Flatworms include Tapeworms and Flukes. They feed on the blood, tissue fluids, or pieces of cells inside our bodies and range in size from microscopic to 20 metres long. Tapeworms live in human intestines where they feed on the partially-digested food in their host’s intestines.
Roundworms, like Pinworms, Threadworms, Hookworms, Ascaris and Heartworms, have hollow bodies and generally grow between 2-5 inches long.
Some of the smallest animal parasites in the human body are called protozoa. Protozoa breathe, move and reproduce by splitting into two. Amoeba are single-celled animals. They come through water/ food.
See the Documentary “Life on Us”. Are we one species or a collection of thousands of species whose only aim is to strive to multiply.
To join the animal welfare movement contact firstname.lastname@example.org, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org