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Question #90419 posted on 10/03/2017 8:50 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How probable is it that your average BYU student is infected with a parasite?

-My Name Here


Dear Anon,

If you consider being pregnant being "infected with a parasite" then between 1-25% of students at BYU could be infected (because I know at least one woman who is pregnant at BYU and at least one married man who is not pregnant and is attending BYU).

If you are worried about contracting a parasite from one of these people you're in luck because they aren't contagious. Though you will be in severe danger of physical harm if you start touching the bellies of those you believe to be infected. 



Dear you,

According to the CDC, there are 5 common parasites in the U.S.:

 - Trypanosoma cruzi - about 300,000 Americans are infected.

 - Cysticercosis - there are 1,000 hospitalizations each year due to this parasite. That means there's a lot more than 1,000 people infected, but since that's the number the CDC published that's what we'll use.

 - Toxocara - 14% of the U.S. population are infected. So of our 323.1 million population, that's 45,234,000 people.

 - Toxoplasma gondii - 60 million Americans infected.

 - Trichomoniasis - 3.7 million Americans infected.

Overall, there's a total of about 109,235,000 Americans who are infected with only these 5 common parasites. There's likely to be some overlap in the numbers, as some people certainly have more than just one parasite and we're currently double counting them, but since we're only counting those 5 parasites and ignoring the rest, we'll assume that overlap will be accounted for. So at least 33.8% of the American population are infected with a parasite. 

BYU would be a bit different from this - 65% of their students served missions as of 2017, some foreign, where they were more likely to pick up a parasite. In addition, while BYU doesn't publish it, I'd guess most BYU students come from a middle-class background, which would make them less likely to have a parasite. So while there might be some leeway, about 33.8% of students, or 11,277 students, are infected with a parasite.

To put that in perspective: if you're in class, look to your left, then look to your right. One of you three has a parasite.

-guppy of doom