After that, we had an introduction lecture about parasitology. Cool class and we learned about all sorts of icky parasites that are quite clever at stowing away into their hosts' bodies, including this little fellow:
Behold. The Hookworm!
And then I died some more as the professor oh so casually described it: "I'd imagine this to be the Edward Cullen of parasites."
Class: "Say what?"
"It sucks blood and ... yeah."
I choked on my half-bewildered, half-horrified laughter.
Confused folks in the back row: "What? What is this Cullen he speaks of?"
I was lost for words. Three extra lessons I learned today:
1) So actually, not everybody is aware of this Twilight business. I thought it had about taken over the world already.
2) But of all those people out there who does know of Twilight, one of them is my professor. Who is so familiar with the Twilight world, he can state the full name of our favorite sparkling vampire. (Extra odd because I'm glancing back and forth between one girl who's all blissfully confused, "What's he talking about?", and then back to our middle-aged male professor, who's eyeing the picture of the hookworm, "Sup, Cullen.")
3) And I will never look at Mr. Hookworm the same way again. There is a part of Mr. Hookworm that thirsts for my blood and I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with - yeah, no. Just no.
Random facts about Hookworm (Necatur americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale):
- a parasitic nematode worm that lives in the small intestine of its host
- feeds on host's small bowel mucosa, sucking blood directly from site of attachment
- one of the most important causes of childhood anemia in developing nations
- infective larvae develop and survive in an environment of damp dirt
- diagnosis depends on finding worm eggs through microscopic examination of the stools
- basic prevention: don't walk barefoot in suspicious areas, avoid using human excrement as fertilizers, and try to deworm pets