Wednesday 27 December 2023

Malevolent Design - More Nastiness From The Pestilential Designer, Or God, As Creationists Call It

Infections from a diarrhoea-causing parasite are on the rise in the UK – but experts aren't quite sure why

Cryptosporidium is a eukaryote protozoan parasite which creationists dogma says must have been designed by their favourite designer because that is the only entity capable of designing complex organisms, including 'irreducibly complex' structures.

Embarrassingly for creationists who are hoping to be able to blame 'Sin' for them, they are hung out to dry on the same hook that Michael J. Behe hung them on with the flagellum of the pathological E. coli bacterium, which they now happily wave as 'proof' of their designer good. Protozoans of the Apicomplexa phylum, of which the cryptosporidia are species, all have the apical complex organelle which is essential for them to break into a cell in order to infect it.

The characteristic apical complex organelle of the Apicomplexa phylum
Cryptosporidia appear to have two functions: to increase the suffering in the world by causing gastrointestinal disorders, usually resulting in severe diarrhoea; and to make more copies of themselves to infect more people and animals and spread the suffering more widely. They have no known beneficial functions in respect of humans or their other host species.

The species Cryptosporidium hominis is an obligate parasite on humans, so, according to creationists superstition, must have infected one or two of the Ark survivors, assuming there were no more than two individuals of the species present. Either that, or, according to creationist mythology, it has been created in the last four thousand years, which rules out being created by 'Sin' as a result of 'The Fall', which would mean it predates creationism's genocidal flood.

First, some AI background by way of introduction to the subject:
Tell me all about the Cryptosporidium parasite, its evolution and what it causes. Cryptosporidium is a genus of protozoan parasites that can cause gastrointestinal illness in humans and other animals. The most common species that affects humans is Cryptosporidium hominis, followed by Cryptosporidium parvum. These parasites are members of the phylum Apicomplexa, which also includes other well-known parasites like Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria. Here are some key points about Cryptosporidium:
  1. Transmission:
    • Cryptosporidium is typically transmitted through the fecal-oral route, often via contaminated water or food.
    • The parasite can also be transmitted through direct contact with infected individuals or animals.
  2. Lifecycle:
    • The lifecycle of Cryptosporidium involves both asexual and sexual stages.
    • In the environment, Cryptosporidium exists as a hardy oocyst, which is the infective stage. Oocysts are resistant to chlorine and can survive for extended periods in water.
  3. Infection and Symptoms:
    • Once ingested, the oocysts release sporozoites that infect the cells lining the small intestine.
    • The infection can lead to gastroenteritis, characterized by symptoms such as watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and fever.
    • Symptoms can range from mild and self-limiting to severe, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems.
  4. Risk Groups:
    • People with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, organ transplant recipients, and individuals undergoing chemotherapy, are more susceptible to severe and prolonged Cryptosporidium infections.
  5. Evolution:
    • Cryptosporidium has evolved to be highly adapted to its host and environment. The resistant nature of its oocysts contributes to its ability to persist in various environmental conditions.
    • The evolution of Cryptosporidium is a complex process involving genetic diversity and adaptation to different host species.
  6. Diagnosis and Treatment:
    • Diagnosis is often made through the detection of oocysts in stool samples, using specialized techniques such as acid-fast staining.
    • There is no specific antiparasitic medication for Cryptosporidium, and treatment mainly involves supportive measures to manage symptoms and prevent dehydration.
  7. Prevention:
    • Preventive measures include ensuring the safety of drinking water, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding contact with contaminated water.
    • Cryptosporidium outbreaks are a significant concern in settings where water quality is compromised.
It's worth noting that Cryptosporidium has been a notable cause of waterborne outbreaks, and efforts to improve water treatment and public health measures are crucial in preventing and controlling its spread. Researchers continue to study the biology of Cryptosporidium to develop better diagnostic tools, treatment options, and preventive strategies.

What is their evolutionary relationship to other protozoa?

Cryptosporidium belongs to the phylum Apicomplexa, a diverse group of parasitic protozoa that includes several well-known pathogens. The Apicomplexa phylum is characterized by the presence of a specialized organelle called the apical complex, which is involved in host cell invasion. Here are some key points about the evolutionary relationship of Cryptosporidium to other protozoa within the Apicomplexa phylum:
  1. Closely Related Genera:
    • Cryptosporidium is closely related to other genera within the Apicomplexa, such as Toxoplasma, Plasmodium, and Eimeria.
    • Toxoplasma gondii, for example, is another important human and animal pathogen within this phylum. It causes the disease toxoplasmosis.
    • Plasmodium species are responsible for causing malaria, one of the most significant parasitic diseases affecting humans.
  2. Similarities in Life Cycle:
    • The life cycle of Cryptosporidium shares some similarities with other Apicomplexa parasites. They typically have complex life cycles that involve both sexual and asexual stages, often with different hosts for each stage.
  3. Apical Complex:
    • The apical complex, a characteristic feature of Apicomplexa, is involved in the process of host cell invasion. This complex includes specialized structures like micronemes and rhoptries that play a crucial role in the attachment and penetration of host cells.
  4. Genetic Diversity:
    • While Cryptosporidium is closely related to other Apicomplexa parasites, it has its own distinct genetic characteristics. The genetic diversity within the Apicomplexa phylum reflects adaptations to different host environments and lifestyles.
  5. Host Specificity:
    • Different genera within the Apicomplexa phylum often exhibit host specificity, meaning they have evolved to infect specific host species.
    • Cryptosporidium, for instance, is known to infect a wide range of hosts, including mammals and birds. However, certain species of Cryptosporidium may show preferences for specific host groups.
Understanding the evolutionary relationships within the Apicomplexa phylum is crucial for studying the biology, ecology, and evolution of these parasites. Comparative genomics and molecular studies contribute to unraveling the genetic relationships and adaptations that have occurred over time, shedding light on the evolution of pathogenicity and host interactions among these protozoa.
And more:
What information is there on the evolution of the apical complex of the Apicomplexa phylum of protozoa? The apical complex is a distinctive structure found in the Apicomplexa phylum, a group of protozoan parasites that includes Plasmodium (the causative agent of malaria), Toxoplasma, and Cryptosporidium. The apical complex is involved in the invasion of host cells and is crucial for the parasitic lifestyle of these organisms. While I can provide a general overview, it's important to note that specific details and recent advancements may not be included in my response as my knowledge cutoff is in January 2022.
  1. Structure of the Apical Complex:
    • The apical complex is primarily composed of specialized organelles, including the apicoplast, micronemes, rhoptries, and dense granules.
    • Micronemes and rhoptries are secretory organelles that release proteins involved in host cell recognition and invasion.
  2. Evolutionary Origins:
    • The evolutionary origins of the apical complex are not fully understood, but it is believed to have evolved through a process of endosymbiosis and subsequent gene transfer.
    • The apicoplast, a plastid-like organelle within the apical complex, is thought to have originated from a secondary endosymbiotic event involving a red algal ancestor.
  3. Phylogenetic Relationships:
    • Molecular phylogenetic studies have been conducted to understand the relationships within the Apicomplexa phylum and its position within the broader context of eukaryotic evolution.
    • Apicomplexans are believed to be related to dinoflagellates, ciliates, and other alveolates.
  4. Genomic Studies:
    • Genomic studies have provided insights into the genes and molecular mechanisms associated with the apical complex.
    • Comparative genomics has been used to identify conserved and unique features within the Apicomplexa.
  5. Functional Significance:
    • The apical complex plays a crucial role in the invasion of host cells by apicomplexan parasites.
    • Proteins secreted by the apical organelles are involved in adhesion, host cell recognition, and the formation of a parasitophorous vacuole.
  6. Diversity within the Phylum:
    • There is considerable diversity within the Apicomplexa phylum, and different species may exhibit variations in the structure and function of the apical complex.
Research on the evolution of the apical complex continues, and ongoing studies aim to enhance our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the parasitic lifestyle of apicomplexan protozoa. For the latest information, it is advisable to refer to recent scientific literature and research publications.
For some unidentified reason we recently experiencing a surge of cased of Cryptosporidium in the UK, as explained in this article by Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine at the University of East Anglia, reprinted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence, and reformatted for stylistic consistency:

Infections from a diarrhoea‑causing parasite are on the rise in the UK – but experts aren’t quite sure why
Only two species of the Cryptosporidium parasite cause infections in humans.

Paul Hunter, University of East Anglia

Infections from a parasite which can cause long-lasting, severe diarrhoea has seen an “unprecedented and ongoing” surge across the UK. This increase in infections has been ongoing since mid-August.

Almost 500 cases of cryptosporidiosis in a week were reported at the end of September alone – five times more than the expected number for that time of year.

And this may just be the tip of the iceberg, as only about one-eighth of infections are ever reported.

While cases have started to fall, they’re still well above expected numbers. And the reasons why cases are so high this year is still unknown.

What is crypto?

Cryptosporidiosis (sometimes called crypto) is caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite.

There are several species of Cryptosporidium, most of which only rarely (if ever) cause disease in humans. There are two species which cause infections in humans: C parvum and C hominis.

C hominis almost exclusively causes infections in humans while C parvum causes infections in many different mammals – most typically cattle. But there is a subgroup of C parvum that has recently evolved into a form that generally only infects humans.

The main symptom of crypto is watery diarrhoea that can be accompanied by stomach cramps, dehydration, vomiting, fever or weight loss. Infections last about ten days on average, which is much longer than what you’d see with other infections, such as Salmonella or Campylobacter.

Crypto predominantly affects children, typically those of pre-school age. Children are most at risk due to their lack of immunity.
A boy wearing goggles swims in a swimming pool.
Swimming may be one potential cause of the current UK outbreak.
How do you contract it?

Crypto is caused by inadvertently ingesting faecal matter. The parasite can be spread through food, water and contact with an infected person or animal. Many crypto outbreaks have been caused by people drinking water that had become contaminated by human or animal faeces, or consuming unpasteurised milk or contaminated foods – typically salads.

Outbreaks have also been associated with farm visits, children’s day care centres and even swimming pools.

Most people recover from crypto without needing treatment. But sometimes crypto can cause severe disease, leading to weight loss and dehydration. Infections from the C hominis strain in particular can sometimes lead to long-term diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, weight loss and fatigue.

People who are severely immune compromised – such as those with HIV/Aids or blood cancer – are also at greater risk of severe and potentially fatal infections.

There’s no vaccine against cryptosporidiosis. If you do catch crypto, make sure to drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. People with more severe infections or people who are immunocompromised may be prescribed anti-parasitic drugs. While these don’t always work, they may help reduce the duration of symptoms.

What is behind the current outbreak?

The causes of the current surge in Cryptosporidium infections in the UK aren’t clear.

Prior to the pandemic, infections would be expected to rise in late summer and early autumn each year. But this year, the surge is especially large. Infections have surged in most parts of the UK, indicating it’s probably not due to a localised outbreak.

One explanation is that this surge is due to increased exposure.

About two-thirds of recently reported C hominis cases have been linked to overseas travel – mainly Spain. Around 80% of these C hominis cases reported swimming in the 14 days before becoming unwell.

In Spain, the towns of Tarazona and Zaragoza have both reported large waterborne outbreaks of crypto during late summer. But whether an outbreak in a part of Spain well away from the Mediterranean beaches most tourists head for could explain this surge is doubtful.

This also doesn’t account for some of the cases of crypto currently being reported, as foreign travel and swimming were much less frequent in recorded C parvum cases.

Another plausible explanation for this current wave is that our immunity to crypto has fallen as a result of COVID control measures. This means the parasite is able to infect more people than would normally be the case.

This would make sense, as lack of immunity was implicated in the high numbers of viral infections seen last year. Not to mention C hominis infections almost disappeared during the first two years of the pandemic due to COVID restrictions. C parvum infections also fell – but mainly only for the first few months after restrictions were introduced.

But if reduced immunity was the only explanation, then we’d expect to see increased case numbers elsewhere in Europe. Unfortunately, crypto infections are inconsistently reported across Europe making comparisons difficult. But among the UK’s neighbours, Ireland has certainly seen more cases this year than typical – even from pre-COVID years.

I suspect the explanation for the outbreak is a combination of the two. Reduced population immunity following a couple of years with very few infections led to increased infection rates. This then led to increased contamination of swimming pools – leading to yet more infections.

How can you protect yourself?

Although most infections in the current wave have been contracted while swimming, I wouldn’t encourage people to avoid swimming to protect themselves – not unless they have severe problems with immunity. But do try to avoid swallowing water while swimming.

If another bather has an accident in the pool, be sure to get out promptly to avoid swallowing water. Likewise, if you’re suffering from diarrhoea you should avoid swimming to protect other swimmers. The Conversation
Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine, University of East Anglia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published by The Conversation.
Open access. (CC BY 4.0)
Perhaps because they're understandably sensitive about the issue of parasitism, creationist frauds like Ham, Hovind, Gish and Comfort who make their living by lying about science to gullible fools, can never be persuaded to discuss the problem they present for their childish superstition, with their unintelligent arms races, their allegedly intelligently [sic] designed 'irreducibly complex' structure like flagella and, in the case of the Apicomplexa phylum, the apical complex structure needed to break into a cell.

But it would be refreshing if just one of them broke ranks and admitted why they would rather we thought of their alleged designer god as a pestilential malevolence rather than have us understand that these parasites are the result of a god-free evolutionary process - and by parasites, I mean the pathological organisms, not the creationist frauds who can easily be explained in terms of avarice, self-aggrandisement, and moral and intellectual bankruptcy, using religious superstition as their excuse.

Thank you for sharing!

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