Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Strains of Parasites Identified

14.01.2015

Research on whipworms has implications for human health and animal conservation

About 600 million people around the world live with whipworms. Most are children in the developing world, whose physical and mental development is stunted by these gastrointestinal parasites.


Rhia Ghai

Endangered red colobus monkey in forest near Kibale, Uganda

The whipworms affect their ability to learn and therefore have a long-term impact on the social and economic situations of some of the world’s poorest people. Although the whipworm species Trichuris trichiura is known to inhabit both non-human primates and humans, little is known about the parasite.

Indeed, until a recent study by Ria Ghai, a doctoral student in biology at McGill, it was widely assumed that a single species was capable of infecting both primates and humans. But Ghai has discovered that there are three genetically distinct groups of whipworms – and only one of the three appears to be transmissible between humans and non-human primates. It is important information for public health officers around the world.

Ghai’s research, published recently in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, was done in the rainforest of Kibale National Park in southwestern Uganda, which has one of the largest concentrations of primates in the world.

The trees are alive with monkeys, and include endangered species such as the red colobus monkey, the eastern chimpanzee, and the rare l’hoest’s monkey as well as more common species, like baboons. In all, there are 13 different species of primates within the park. But the park is an island of forest within one of the most densely populated agricultural regions in East Africa, with a population of 300-600 people per square km. And there is increasing human pressure on limited land and growing interaction between the two groups.

“The park has been a protected space since 1993, but for a very long time people have been going into the forest to gather wood to burn and banana leaves and grasses to weave with, as well as to hunt bush meat, and it’s hard to change habits when people are in such need,” says Ghai. “The monkeys also come out of the park to raid the fields for maize and sweet potatoes. So in a place where there is little running water to wash either food or hands and where people walk barefoot wherever they go, it is not surprising that there is an exchange of fecal matter between humans and primates that has led to the transmission of whipworms.”

Although researchers and medical people have known about whipworms for a long time, people have paid little attention to the transmission of the parasite between primates and humans until now. Ria Ghai’s molecular analysis of the fecal matter from various species, including humans, suggests that there is one strain of whipworms t found only in humans, another strain which is only found in either black-and-white or red colobus monkeys, and a final strain found in both humans and primates.

“What this shows us is that we have been underestimating biodiversity,” says co-author Prof. Colin Chapman, from McGill’s Department of Anthropology and School of the Environment who has been working in the area for many years. “There are far more species of parasites around than we had expected, and we hope this new information will be useful both for conservationists and for people working in health policy.”

To read the full article in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases:

http://www.plosntds.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pntd.0003256

Contact Information
Katherine Gombay
Media Relations Officer
katherine.gombay@mcgill.ca
Phone: 514-398-2189

Katherine Gombay | newswise
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>