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Chapter 129 : Taxonomy and Classification of Human Parasitic Protozoa and Helminths

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Abstract:

This chapter deals with the taxonomy and classification of the parasitic protozoa and helminths that are commonly encountered in humans together with a number that are only occasionally encountered. The concept of species as the basic unit that underlies the logical classification of all eukaryotes is scientifically sound but does not necessarily meet the needs of those whose interests are in the diseases caused by parasites and not the parasites themselves. This subject is discussed in some detail by Tibayrenc, who points out that there have been some 24 concepts of species and that "Biological researchers need more-pragmatic approaches that can be understood by non-specialists. Decision makers need precise answers for cost-effective and efficient control measures against transmissible diseases.” Classification of parasitic protozoa and helminths that infect human are listed in this chapter. The levels of the taxa used differ between the protozoa and helminths, and this is deliberate. In the classification of the Protozoa, the higher taxa, subkingdoms and infrakingdoms, have been omitted for simplicity and protozoans are classified as far as orders, as this is the lowest taxonomic level normally used by parasitologists.

Citation: Cox F. 2011. Taxonomy and Classification of Human Parasitic Protozoa and Helminths, p 2041-2046. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch129

Key Concept Ranking

RNA Polymerase II
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Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
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Parasite Classification
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References

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Tables

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TABLE 1

Comparison of the “traditional,” “1980,” and current classifications of the Protozoa

Citation: Cox F. 2011. Taxonomy and Classification of Human Parasitic Protozoa and Helminths, p 2041-2046. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch129
Generic image for table
TABLE 2

Outline classification of parasitic protozoa and helminths that infect humans

Parasites in bold type are the most important species. Symbols: *, rare or very rare parasites of humans; +, accidental infections with larval forms and in which the parasite fails to develop to its adult stage.

This organism is also known as or . Molecular and epidemiological evidence now suggests that at least two assemblages of infect humans, one of which is and the other possibly a new species, ( ).

and are subspecies but are often referred to as species, and

Molecular phylogenetic studies of species indicate that humans also harbor a small number of parasites that cannot be identified as or for example, forms from Korea that resemble ovine babesias, a -like parasite from the United States, two as-yet-unclassified forms from Japan, and others from Brazil, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Egypt, and South Africa ( ).

a malaria parasite of macaque monkeys in Southeast Asia that occasionally infected humans in the past, has now been established as a naturally transmitted parasite of humans in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia, where it has now caused a number of deaths ( ). now brings the number of human malaria parasites to five.

The designation is commonly used in the scientific literature, but it is now clear that this organism exists as a number of serotypes, and it has been recommended that all isolates from birds and mammals, including humans, should be in future designated as sp. serotypes ST1 to ST10 plus ST Unknown. Of these, all except ST5 and ST10 have been identified in humans, and all of these except ST9 are found in other hosts ( ).

The classification of the microsporidians is in a state of flux pending agreement as to how they should be classified within the fungi, so they are not assigned to any class or order in this classification.

Some zoologists have assigned certain species, including those found in humans, to other genera and but these genera have been largely ignored by medical parasitologists and, in order to avoid confusion, are not listed here.

Zoologists have assigned this worm commonly known as to the genus ( ), but this change has not been widely accepted by parasitologists working with human parasites.

Citation: Cox F. 2011. Taxonomy and Classification of Human Parasitic Protozoa and Helminths, p 2041-2046. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch129

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