Continuing BBC Four’s Natural History Season, Dr Michael Mosley turns his body into a living laboratory by deliberately infecting himself with some of the most extraordinary, powerful and surprising parasites of them all.
Almost every animal on Earth has its own parasites – and humans are no exception. These strange creatures will feed on him and even make his body their home.
Michael infects himself with the infamous Tapeworm by swallowing live cysts sourced from infected meat in Kenya. Tapeworms have evolved over millions of years to the particular environment of the human gut. By swallowing a tiny camera – the pill-cam - the tapeworms’ stomach churning growth inside Michael’s body can be seen close up.
For his next itchy encounter, Michael is joined by entomologist Dr James Logan as he gets to grips with one of the most widespread childhood nuisances in the UK – the head louse. These little blood suc***s are so dependent on humans that Michael has to keep them alive on his own skin. Using a video microscope Michael and James observe the lice exploring Michael’s body and digesting their latest blood meal. They see how perfectly the head louse is adapted to climbing and gripping onto human hair. Through comparing the body shapes of head, pubic and body lice James reveals that they tell us something about our own history.