BBC Earth

Infested with Michael Mosley


Infested with Michael MosleyInfested with Michael Mosley

From the face mites on our eyelashes to the amoebae that reproduce in our mouths, we all act as hosts to parasites – and we barely give them a second thought.

These forgotten organisms live in or on a host, using it to get food. It’s a complex and intimate relationship that has evolved over millions of years. Predators kill their prey, but parasites have a much harder task – they need to keep their host alive.

In this programme, Michael Mosley infects himself with some of the most powerful and surprising parasites to find out how this fascinating relationship works. From the disgusting tapeworm to head lice and leeches, Michael’s body becomes a home for some enterprising creatures.

Michael is carefully monitored over a period of weeks as his parasites get used to their new home, revealing how an infestation takes hold and the effect it has on the human body. He also explores the growing scientific evidence that suggests some parasites might be beneficial.

From the role leeches can play in stimulating blood circulation, and how this is helping in plastic surgery, to how hookworms can help hay fever sufferers, over the weeks, Michael itches and scratches his way to a newfound respect for parasites.