Tag Archives: Parasitology

Canine babesiosis outbreak in UK under control, but needs monitoring

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are using the health records of dogs to monitor the status of a potentially fatal tick-borne disease that appears to have been imported into the UK. Canine babesiosis is transmitted to dogs by infected ticks, with symptoms including a lack of appetite, fever and jaundice. Although normally only found […]

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Insecticide treatment of cattle to kill sand flies and combat leishmaniasis

With an estimated 500,000 human infections and 50,000 deaths annually, visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the second most prevalent parasitic killer, behind malaria. Leishmania parasites are transmitted through the bite of phlebotomine sand flies. A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases makes the case that fighting the insects by treating cattle with the long-lasting insecticide, […]

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*Battling toxoplasmosis: International team describes step-by-step progress

In the July 14 edition of Scientific Reports (Nature), 39 researchers from 14 leading institutions in the United States, United Kingdom and France suggest novel approaches that could hasten the development of better medications for people suffering from toxoplasmosis. This chronic, currently incurable infection, caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, infects the brain and eye […]

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* Scientists unpack how Toxoplasma infection is linked to neurodegenerative disease

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Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite about five microns long, infects a third of the world’s population. Ingested via undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables, the parasite infects 15-30 percent of the US population. In France and Brazil, up to 80 percent of the population has the infection. Particularly dangerous during pregnancy — infection in pregnant women […]

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* First ever vaccine for deadly parasitic infection may help prevent another global outbreak

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As scientists scramble to get a Zika virus vaccine into human trials by the end of the summer, a team of researchers is working on the first-ever vaccine to prevent another insect-borne disease — Leishmaniasis — from gaining a similar foothold in the Americas. Leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection passed on through the bite of […]

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Genomes of chimpanzee parasite species reveal evolution of human malaria

Understanding the origins of emerging diseases — as well as more established disease agents — is critical to gauge future human infection risks and find new treatment and prevention approaches. This holds true for malaria, which kills more than 500,000 people a year. Symptoms, including severe anemia, pregnancy-associated malaria, and cerebral malaria, have been linked […]

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Toxoplasmosis: Morbid attraction to leopards in parasitized chimpanzees

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Researchers from the Centre d’Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (CNRS/Université de Montpellier/Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3/EPHE) have shown that chimpanzees infected with toxoplasmosis are attracted by the urine of their natural predators, leopards, but not by urine from other large felines. The study, published on 8 February 2016 in Current Biology, suggests that parasite manipulation by […]

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Impact of climate change on parasite infections depends on host immunity

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New research demonstrates how climate change and the immune reaction of the infected individual can affect the long-term and seasonal dynamics of parasite infections. The study, led by Penn State University scientists, assessed the infection dynamics of two species of soil-transmitted parasites in a population of rabbits in Scotland every month for 23 years. The […]

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* Researchers identify new Borrelia species that causes Lyme disease

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Mayo Clinic researchers, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials from Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, have discovered a new bacterial species that causes Lyme disease in people. The new species has been provisionally named Borrelia mayonii. Prior to this finding, the only species believed to cause Lyme […]

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* New way to detect human-animal diseases tested in lemurs

Advances in genetic sequencing are uncovering emerging diseases in wildlife that other diagnostic tests can’t detect. In a study led by Duke University, researchers used a technique called whole-transcriptome sequencing to screen for blood-borne diseases in wild lemurs, distant primate cousins to humans. The animals were found to carry several strains or species of parasites […]

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Zebra stripes not for camouflage, new study finds

If you’ve always thought of a zebra’s stripes as offering some type of camouflaging protection against predators, it’s time to think again, suggest scientists at the University of Calgary and UC Davis. Findings from their study will be published Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 in the journal PLOS ONE. “The most longstanding hypothesis for zebra striping […]

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Dogs thwart effort to eradicate Guinea worm

Most cases of Guinea-worm disease in Chad have occurred in communities based along the Chari River. A decades-long push to make Guinea-worm disease the first parasitic infection to be wiped out is close to victory. But a mysterious epidemic of the parasite in dogs threatens to foil the eradication effort. The Carter Center in Atlanta, […]

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Ticks that transmit Lyme disease reported in nearly half of all US counties

Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus), and the range of these ticks is spreading, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Some symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue, all of which can be mistaken for the common flu, […]

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The tapeworm that turned into a tumour

Bizarre case study reports how cancerous cells came from a tapeworm infection. A tapeworm that infected a Colombian man deposited malignant cells inside his body that spread much like an aggressive cancer, researchers have reported in a bizarre, but not unprecedented, case. “We have a situation where a foreign organism is developing as a tumour […]

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* Exploring vulnerabilities of the Cryptosporidium parasite

Cryptosporidium parvum is a gastrointestinal parasite that can cause moderate to severe diarrhea in children and adults, and deadly opportunistic infection in AIDS patients. Because C. parvum is resistant to chlorine disinfectant treatment, it frequently causes water-borne outbreaks around the world. A study published on Nov. 12th in PLOS Pathogens provides a detailed analysis of […]

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* Genes linked with malaria’s virulence shared by apes, humans

The malaria parasite molecules associated with severe disease and death–those that allow the parasite to escape recognition by the immune system–have been shown to share key gene segments with chimp and gorilla malaria parasites, which are separated by several millions of years, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public […]

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Pathogen-carrying neotropical ticks ride migratory birds into US

Tick species not normally present in the United States are arriving here on migratory birds. Some of these ticks carry disease-causing Ricksettia species, and some of those species are exotic to the US. The research is published on October 2nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. In the […]

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* Anti-parasite drugs sweep Nobel prize in medicine 2015

Chinese pharmacologist Youyou Tu developed key antimalarial drug artemisinin. Three scientists who developed therapies against parasitic infections have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.The winners are: William C. Campbell, a microbiologist at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey; Satoshi Ōmura, at Kitasato University in Japan; and Youyou Tu, a pharmacologist at the […]

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Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species

North Americans might be seeing new species of birds in certain areas of the continent in the near future. According to research conducted by a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his co-authors, Eurasian birds are beginning to develop a presence on our continent, which could end up having a negative effect […]

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Newly identified tadpole disease found across the globe

Scientists have found that a newly identified and highly infectious tadpole disease is found in a diverse range of frog populations across the world. The discovery sheds new light on some of the threats facing fragile frog populations, which are in decline worldwide. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences […]

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* The growing global battle against blood-sucking ticks

Disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld says that Lyme disease should be tackled in part by targeting mice. On a balmy day in late June, Scott Williams waits for a white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) to fall asleep. Williams, a wildlife biologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, has just transferred the animal from a […]

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Tick-borne diseases are a major public health problem around the world

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Ticks carry and transmit a variety of microbes that cause disease. These illnesses, which include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia, can cause a variety of symptoms, often serious and sometimes deadly. Now, just in time for spring and the explosion of ticks in forests, lawns and trails, a new study by researchers […]

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Disease-carrying fleas abound on New York City’s rats

In research appearing March 2 in the Journal of Medical Entomology, lead author Matthew Frye, an urban entomologist with Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, reported collecting more than 6,500 specimens of five well-known species of fleas, lice and mites from 133 rats. Among them: 500-plus Oriental rat fleas, notorious for […]

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Tickborne relapsing fever, Bitterroot Valley, Montana, USA

In July 2013, a resident of the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana, USA, contracted tickborne relapsing fever caused by an infection with the spirochete Borrelia hermsii. The patient’s travel history and activities before onset of illness indicated a possible exposure on his residential property on the eastern side of the valley. An onsite investigation of […]

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Hidden infection shortens life in birds

Until now, the research community had believed that mild infections that do not produce symptoms of illness have no effect on survival and reproduction. However, a new study shows that a malaria infection that produces no obvious direct negative effects still has an impact; in the long run it can have serious consequences in the […]

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Deworming programs in animal, human populations may have unwanted impacts

A study of the effects of worming medications on infectious disease in wildlife herds showed an unexpected and alarming result — it helped reduce individual deaths from a bovine tuberculosis infection, but hugely increased the potential for spread of the disease to other animals. The findings, from one of the first field studies ever done […]

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Promising compound rapidly eliminates malaria parasite

An international research collaborative has determined that a promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite but leave healthy cells unharmed. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists led the study, which appears in the current online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy […]

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Evolution of extreme parasites explained by scientists

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to understand for the first time […]

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* Vaccine alternative protects mice against malaria

A study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers found that injecting a vaccine-like compound into mice was effective in protecting them from malaria. The findings suggest a potential new path toward the elusive goal of malaria immunization. Mice injected with a virus genetically altered to help the rodents create an antibody […]

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Wild sheep show benefits of putting up with parasites

In the first evidence that natural selection favors an individual’s infection tolerance, researchers from PrincetonUniversity and the University of Edinburgh have found that an animal’s ability to endure an internal parasite strongly influences its reproductive success. Reported in the journal PLoS Biology, the finding could provide the groundwork for boosting the resilience of humans and […]

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