Bobbi Pritt, M.D., really likes parasites. So much, in fact, that in 2007 – after completing a clinical microbiology fellowship at Mayo Clinic and while studying medical parasitology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – she decided to launch a blog called Creepy, Dreadful, Wonderful Parasites, devoted to sharing her love of parasitology. “I knew that I would be seeing a lot of fascinating cases at this world-renowned school in London, and I wanted to share what I was learning with my colleagues back in Rochester,” she tells us. So, she started her blog “as a means of sharing interesting cases with a small audience of clinical microbiologists.”
That audience isn’t so small anymore. “My audience soon expanded, however, as my classmates at the London school also started following my blog and began spreading the word to their friends and co-workers,” Dr. Pritt says. “I now am amazed to say that I get more than 15,000 hits each month!” While the reach of her blog may have changed, Dr. Pritt tells us her motivation has not. And that’s "to share my passion for parasitology with fellow researchers, parasitologists, pathologists, microbiologists, and infectious disease physicians who have a professional interest in parasites,” she says.
Dr. Pritt posts a new parasite-related case on her blog every week. A week later, she posts the medical answers to that case. Readers can post their best guesses to the blog or just wait until the following week when I post the response,” she says.
It might seem like a daunting task to come up with a new case each week, but Dr. Pritt says her readers have become so interested in her posts that they often take care of that for her. “I have a number of regular readers who write in each week, and many of them now donate cases for future postings,” she says. Like Case No. 227, which was contributed by a fellow physician and shows “an amazing video of a colonoscopy from a woman with intestinal flukes.” Or Case No. 333, from a reader in Florida that shows “a really nice example of a fish tapeworm that can reach lengths of up to 50 feet!” Or Case No. 327, a “fun food case about arthropods that live on cheese.” (There are other words than “fun” that come to mind.)
There's more fun with parasites on Dr. Pritt’s blog. The cases also will be posted each week on the Mayo Clinic News Network site. Then get on our case and share your comments on the In the Loop blog and share this story with others.