Tag Archives: Parasitology

Animal vaccines should guide malaria research, experts say

In an article in the journal Parasitology, veterinarian and disease researcher Associate Professor Milton McAllister says there are many effective vaccines for diseases in animals caused by close relatives of the parasites that cause malaria (called protozoans). “In contrast, there are no vaccines available for malaria or any other protozoal disease of humans – despite […]

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Parasites in humans influence each other via shared food sources

Over 1,400 species of parasites — viruses, bacteria, fungi, intestinal worms and protozoa — are able to infect humans. In most cases, the right medicine against a parasite cures the patient. If he or she suffers from an infection by two or more species of parasite at the same time, however, it soon becomes more […]

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Nasty parasitic worm, common in wildlife, now infecting U. S. cats

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When Cornell University veterinarians found half-foot-long worms living in their feline patients, they had discovered something new: The worms, Dracunculus insignis, had never before been seen in cats. “First Report of Dracunculus Insignis in Two Naturally Infected Cats from the Northeastern USA,” published in the February issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, […]

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Cat parasite found in western Arctic Beluga deemed infectious

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University of British Columbia scientists have found for the first time an infectious form of the cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii in western Arctic Beluga, prompting a health advisory to the Inuit people who eat whale meat. The same team also discovered a new strain of the parasite, previously sequestered in the icy north, that is […]

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Biologists find clues to a parasite’s inconsistency

Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite related to the one that causes malaria, infects about 30 percent of the world’s population. Most of those people don’t even know they are infected, but a small percentage develop encephalitis or ocular toxoplasmosis, which can lead to blindness. MIT biologist Jeroen Saeij and his colleagues are trying to figure out […]

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Some lice eggs linger before hatching

The common head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, may take as long as 14 days to hatch. Here’s some lousy news for parents of itchy-headed kids: Lice eggs can take 2 weeks to hatch in human hair, making standard 7-day delousing treatments ineffective in some cases. New research shows that if conditions are right, the eggs, […]

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Ticks kill sheep

In some lamb herds, a mortality rate of 30 percent has been recorded, albeit, no predators have been involved in these losses. The situation is so serious that the sheep industry could be under threat. It is therefore crucial to identify the causes and implement preventative measures. The answer may be found somewhere within the […]

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Invasion of the nostril ticks

Tony Goldberg had been back from Uganda for only about a day when he felt a distressingly familiar itch in his nose. A veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he had just spent a few weeks in Kibale National Park studying chimpanzees and how the diseases they carry might make the jump to […]

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Parasite makes mice lose fear of cats permanently

Behavioural changes persist after Toxoplasma infection is cleared. Mice infected with toxoplasmosis lose their instinctive fear for the smell of cats — and the parasite’s effects may be permanent. A parasite that infects up to one-third of people around the world may have the ability to permanently alter a specific brain function in mice, according […]

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Zapped malaria parasite raises vaccine hopes

Maverick malaria vaccine achieves 100% protection using parasites from irradiated mosquitoes. A health worker tests a child’s blood for malaria at a free clinic in Mali. A new study has raised cautious optimism that an effective vaccine might finally become available. A malaria vaccine has become the first to provide 100% protection against the disease, […]

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Parasites in cat feces: Potential public health problem?

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Each year in the United States, cats deposit about 1.2 million metric tons of feces into the environment, and that poop is carrying with it what may be a vast and underappreciated public health problem, say scientists July 9 in the journal Trends in Parasitology, a Cell Press publication. Some of that poop is laden […]

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Blood-sucking deer keds are spreading in Norway

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A high moose population density and mild autumn weather result in a higher prevalence of deer keds (louse fly parasite). A great deal of pine forest in the habitat of the moose has the same effect. These are the results of new research into how deer keds are spreading in Southeast Norway. The findings of […]

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Malaria protection in chimpanzees

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In malaria regions the parasite prevalence in the human body as well as malaria-related morbidity and mortality decrease with age. This reflects the progressive mounting of a protective immunity. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Robert Koch-Institute now present a study which addresses the age distribution of malaria parasite infection […]

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Wild mice have natural protection against lyme borreliosis

Like humans, mice can become infected with Borrelia. However, not all mice that come into contact with these bacteria contract the dreaded Lyme disease: Animals with a particular gene variant are immune to the bacteria, as scientists from the universities of Zurich and Lund demonstrate. Wild mice are the primary hosts for Borrelia, which are […]

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Weight loss helps to oust worms

Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered that weight loss plays an important role in the body’s response to fighting off intestinal worms. The findings have been published in the journal PLOS Pathogens and show that the immune system hijacks the natural feeding pathways causing weight loss. This then drives the defense mechanisms down […]

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How common ‘cat parasite’ gets into human brain and influences human behavior

Toxoplasma is a common ‘cat parasite’, and has previously been in the spotlight owing to its observed effect on risk-taking and other human behaviours. To some extent, it has also been associated with mental illness. A study led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden now demonstrates for the first time how the parasite enters […]

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Resistant parasites in sheep in Norway

Sheep in the Norwegian counties of Rogaland and Hordaland have an increased risk of hosting gastrointestinal parasites which cannot be efficiently treated with benzimidazole — the most frequently used deworming agent for sheep in Norway. A national monitoring programme, increased focus on good treatment procedures and reducing excessive treatment are measures that can prevent the […]

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Scientist creates test, treatment for malaria-like sickness in horses

When Washington State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinary scientist Don Knowles got word two years ago that a rare but deadly infection was discovered among a group of horses in south Texas, he felt a jolt of adrenaline. Not only were the horses infected with a parasitic disease similar to malaria in humans, […]

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Common parasite may trigger suicide attempts: Inflammation from Toxoplasma gondii produces brain-damaging metabolites

A parasite thought to be harmless and found in many people may actually be causing subtle changes in the brain, leading to suicide attempts. New research appearing in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry adds to the growing work linking an infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite to suicide attempts. Michigan […]

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Bovine TB disguised by liver fluke

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Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) could be spreading across Britain because the most widely used test for the disease is ineffective when cattle are infected with a common liver parasite. The liver fluke Fasciola hepatica was already known to affect the standard skin test for bTB, but it was unclear whether the fluke stopped the disease developing […]

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Richer parasite diversity helps protect frogs from viruses that cause malformed limbs

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Increases in the diversity of parasites that attack amphibians cause a decrease in the infection success rate of virulent parasites, including one that causes malformed limbs and premature death, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. According to CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Pieter Johnson, scientists are concerned about how changes in biodiversity affect the risk […]

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Pigs as natural hosts of Dientamoeba fragilis genotypes found in humans

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Dientamoeba fragilis is a common intestinal parasite in humans. Transmission routes and natural host range are unknown. To determine whether pigs are hosts, we analyzed 152 fecal samples by microscopy and molecular methods. We confirmed that pigs are a natural host and harbor genotypes found in humans, suggesting zoonotic potential. The flagellated protozoan Dientamoeba fragilis […]

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Strain of common Toxoplasma Gondii parasite linked to severe illness in US newborns

Scientists have identified which strains of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, the cause of toxoplasmosis, are most strongly associated with premature births and severe birth defects in the United States. The researchers used a new blood test developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of […]

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Lyme disease surge predicted for Northeastern US: Due to acorns and mice, not mild winter

The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY. What do acorns have to do with illness? Acorn […]

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Survey of infections transmissible between baboons and humans, Cape Town, South Africa

The close contact between baboons and humans results in a high potential for the transmission of infectious diseases, from baboons to humans (zoonoses) and from humans to baboons (anthroponoses). Globally, disease transmission between humans and wildlife is occurring at an increasing rate, posing a substantial global threat to public health and biodiversity conservation. Although a […]

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Bloodstream malaria infections in mice successfully cleared

University of Iowa researchers and colleagues have discovered how malaria manipulates the immune system to allow the parasite to persist in the bloodstream. By rescuing this immune system pathway, the research team was able to cure mice of bloodstream malaria infections. The findings, which were published Dec. 11 in the Advance Online Publication of the […]

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First aid after tick bites

They come out in the spring, and each year they spread further — the ticks. Thirty percent of them transmit borrelia pathogens, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis that can damage joints and organs. The disease often goes undetected. In the future, a new type of gel is intended to prevent an infection — if […]

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New tick-borne disease discovered in Sweden

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy have discovered a brand new tick-borne infection. Since the discovery, eight cases have been described around the world, three of them in the Gothenburg area, Sweden. In July 2009 a 77-year-old man from western Sweden was out kayaking when he went down with acute diarrhea, fever and […]

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Malaria’s master key

The most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is an unusually versatile bug. The single-celled safecracker carries a wide collection of protein “keys” that it can use to jimmy receptor “locks” on the surface of red blood cells, tricking the cells into letting it in. Block one of these entry points with a drug, and the […]

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Malaria vaccine meets (modest) expectations

The eagerly awaited results from the world’s first large-scale trial of a malaria vaccine are in, and they confirm what other, smaller studies had shown: The vaccine, called RTS,S, offers partial protection, cutting episodes of malaria in babies and toddlers in half. Although not nearly as impressive as most vaccines currently in use, experts say […]

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