Chapter 3 : Overview of the Parasitic Pathogens

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The genetic and morphologic complexity of parasites makes them challenging targets for immunological studies. The chapter focuses on major parasites and the diseases they cause. infection in humans arises from the consumption of undercooked infected meat or through contact with the feces of an infected cat. The species of that cause disease in humans are, in decreasing order of importance, , , , and . is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, where it is transmitted between humans by blood-feeding tsetse flies. In humans, trematodes live either within the bloodstream or within the lungs or intestine. The most important cestodes that infect humans are , , and spp. Impaired lymphatic drainage associated with the adult parasites living within the lymph vessels can lead to elephantiasis, a self-explanatory condition in which there is severe swelling of the limb extremities, genitalia, and breasts. The chapter considers few general characteristics of immunity to parasites that deserve special attention, and discusses relationship between immunity and disease. With global warming, there is also an expectation that parasites previously considered to be largely tropical pathogens will move north and south of their traditional areas of endemicity to cause disease in formerly temperate zones. The ready spread of parasitic pathogens is also enhanced by the greater ease of global travel and by the global transportation of food (a factor in outbreaks of foodborne infection in the United States).

Citation: Pearce E, Tarleton R. 2002. Overview of the Parasitic Pathogens, p 39-52. In Kaufmann S, Sher A, Ahmed R (ed), Immunology of Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817978.ch3
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