Teacher’s Questions for Worms, Your Unlikely Allies


Before reading:

  1. What is a parasite? What is a host? Give one example of a host-parasite relationship.
  2. What does the body’s immune system do?

During reading:

  1. Describe the relationship between the immune system and inflammation. What are some symptoms of inflammation?
  2. What is the main difference between immune disorders (such as allergies and asthma) and autoimmune disorders (such as Crohn’s disease and lupus)?
  3. Are parasites revving up or toning down inflammation in humans? Is this good or bad for the parasites? Is this good or bad for their human hosts?
  4. Describe the connection scientists have found between geography, parasites and immune/autoimmune disorders.
  5. Overall, what are the results of studies that treat immune disorders with parasites? What are the tradeoffs of using parasites to treat immune disorders?
  6. Parasites slow inflammation by revving up the production of what protein?

After reading:

  1. Name two kinds of parasitic worms discussed in the story.
  2. Can you think of another kind of parasitic animal that has medicinal benefits? (Hint: They’re bloodsuckers.)


1. What are some simple things a person can do to avoid getting parasites?