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 New mathematical model can help save endangered species
14.01.2019 | University of Southern Denmark

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists discover new 'architecture' in corn

21.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Broadband achromatic metalens focuses light regardless of polarization

21.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Nuclear actin filaments determine T helper cell function

21.01.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>