ABSTRACT: Over the past decade or two, the teaching of laboratory diagnostic parasitology has been neglected in Australasia, as parasitic infections are relatively uncommon. As a consequence, expertise in medical parasitology is dwindling. A team of international experts (including Professor John Goldsmid) has been formed to help in the diagnosis of human parasitic infections. The team includes experts from Australia, Europe, South Africa and the USA. Some senior members of the team are excellent morphologists, and we have both human and veterinary parasitologists who help with molecular diagnosis in difficult cases.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted parasitology curricula worldwide, which is expected to lead to the reshaping of parasitology education. Here, we share our experiences of remote teaching and learning of veterinary parasitology and discuss opportunities offered by remote teaching during COVID-19 lockdowns, enabling the development of interactive online parasitology courses.
Project description:There is a growing concern both inside and outside the scientific community over the lack of reproducibility of experiments. The depth and detail of reported methods are critical to the reproducibility of findings, but also for making it possible to compare and integrate data from different studies. In this study, we evaluated in detail the methods reporting in a comprehensive set of trypanosomiasis experiments that should enable valid reproduction, integration and comparison of research findings. We evaluated a subset of other parasitic (Leishmania, Toxoplasma, Plasmodium, Trichuris and Schistosoma) and non-parasitic (Mycobacterium) experimental infections in order to compare the quality of method reporting more generally. A systematic review using PubMed (2000-2012) of all publications describing gene expression in cells and animals infected with Trypanosoma spp was undertaken based on PRISMA guidelines; 23 papers were identified and included. We defined a checklist of essential parameters that should be reported and have scored the number of those parameters that are reported for each publication. Bibliometric parameters (impact factor, citations and h-index) were used to look for association between Journal and Author status and the quality of method reporting. Trichuriasis experiments achieved the highest scores and included the only paper to score 100% in all criteria. The mean of scores achieved by Trypanosoma articles through the checklist was 65.5% (range 32-90%). Bibliometric parameters were not correlated with the quality of method reporting (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient <-0.5; p>0.05). Our results indicate that the quality of methods reporting in experimental parasitology is a cause for concern and it has not improved over time, despite there being evidence that most of the assessed parameters do influence the results. We propose that our set of parameters be used as guidelines to improve the quality of the reporting of experimental infection models as a pre-requisite for integrating and comparing sets of data.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to estimate the research productivity of different world regions in the field of Parasitology. METHODS: Using the PubMed database we retrieved articles from journals included in the "Parasitology" category of the "Journal Citation Reports" database of the Institute for Scientific Information for the period 1995-2003. Research productivity was evaluated based on a methodology we developed and used in other bibliometric studies by analysing: (1) the total number of publications, (2) the mean impact factor of all papers, and (3) the product of the above two parameters, (4) the research productivity in relation to gross domestic product of each region, and (5) the research productivity in relation to gross national income per capita and population of each region. RESULTS: Data on the country of origin of the research was available for 18,110 out of 18,377 articles (98.6% of all articles from the included journals). Western Europe exceeds all world regions in research production for the period studied (34.8% of total articles), with USA ranking second (19.9%), and Latin America & the Caribbean ranking third (17.2%). The mean impact factor in articles published in Parasitology journals was highest for the USA (1.88). Oceania ranked first in research productivity when adjustments for both the gross national income per capita (GNIPC) and population were made. Eastern Europe almost tripled the production of articles from only 1.9% of total production in 1995 to 4.3% in 2003. Similarly, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia doubled their production. However, the absolute and relative production by some developing areas, including Africa, is still very low, despite the fact that parasitic diseases are major public health problems in these areas. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that more help should be provided by the developed nations to developing areas for improvement of the infrastructure of research.
Project description:The respectable community of parasitologists aimed at the broad-spectral research of acanthocephalan parasites met at the 9th Acanthocephalan Workshop. The workshop took place in the beautiful surroundings of the High Tatras, Slovakia in the Congress Centre Academia, Stará Lesná near Tatranská Lomnica on September 9 - 13th. This special event was hosted by the Slovak Society for Parasitology, the Institute of Parasitology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovakia, and the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic. It consisted of nearly three dozen lectures presented by distinguished acanthocephalan specialists who came from 13 countries and five continents. Vibrant discussions and creating new plans for future collaborations were accompanied by local mountain touring that offered the venue richly endowed with nature, deep forests and beautiful mountains. The contributions were addressed to resolve current systematic, taxonomic, biological, behavioural, ecological, and related topics. Presented results showed the most recent progressive developments comparable with all the other parasitic worm groups. The 10th Acanthocephalan Workshop will be hosted by Dr. Marie-Jeanne Perrot-Minnot, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Dijon, Bourgogne, France, in 2022. When citing this Review, please use the following form: Authors of the cited part (2018): Title of the cited part. In: Update on selected topics in acanthocephalan parasites research. Helminthologia, 55(4): pages. DOI: 10.2478/helm-2018-0023 see the example below: Amin, O.M. (2018): Variability in the Acanthocephala. In: Update on selected topics in acanthocephalan parasites research. Helminthologia, 55(4): 350 - 361. DOI: 10.2478/helm-2018-0023.
Project description:Delusional parasitosis is a common syndrome seen in Infectious Diseases clinics. These patients characteristically provide samples as evidence of their infestation. We prospectively catalogued and characterized 138 samples from these patients, processed in the UK Clinical Parasitology reference laboratory from January 2014 to April 2015. No human parasites were identified.
Project description:Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are widely accepted as the best means to synthesise quantitative or qualitative scientific evidence. Many scientific fields have embraced these more rigorous review techniques as a means to bring together large and complex bodies of literature and their data. Unfortunately, due to perceived difficulties and unfamiliarity with processes, other fields are not using these options to review their literature. One way to provide guidance for a specific field is to examine critically recent reviews and meta-analyses and to explain the advantages and disadvantages of the various review techniques. In this paper, we examine review papers in the emerging field of wildlife parasitology and compare five different literature review types-configurative narrative review, aggregative scoping review, aggregative literature review, aggregative meta-analysis, and aggregative systematic review. We found that most literature reviews did not adequately explain the methodology used to find the literature under review. We also found that most literature reviews were not comprehensive nor did they critically appraise the literature under review. Such a lack severely reduces the reliability of the reviews. We encourage all authors to consider using systematic reviews in the future, and for authors and peer-reviewers to be aware of the limitations of non-systematic reviews.
Project description:Nearly half of all animals may have a parasitic lifestyle, yet the number of transitions to parasitism and their potential for species diversification remain unresolved. Based on a comprehensive survey of the animal kingdom, we find that parasitism has independently evolved at least 223 times in just 15 phyla, with the majority of identified independent parasitic groups occurring in the Arthropoda, at or below the level of Family. Metazoan parasitology is dominated by the study of helminthes; however, only 20% of independently derived parasite taxa belong to those groups, with numerous transitions also seen in Mollusca, Rotifera, Annelida and Cnidaria. Parasitism is almost entirely absent from deuterostomes, and although worm-like morphology and host associations are widespread across Animalia, the dual symbiotic and trophic interactions required for parasitism may constrain its evolution from antecedent consumer strategies such as generalist predators and filter feeders. In general, parasitic groups do not differ from their free-living relatives in their potential for speciation. However, the 10 largest parasitic clades contain 90% of described parasitic species, or perhaps 40% of all animal species. Hence, a substantial fraction of animal diversity on the Earth arose following these few transitions to a parasitic trophic strategy.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Equine gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) have been the subject of intermittent studies in Australia over the past few decades. However, comprehensive information on the epidemiology of equine GINs, the efficacy of available anthelmintic drugs and the prevalence of anthelmintic resistance (AR) in Australasia is lacking. Herein, we have systematically reviewed existing knowledge on the horse GINs recorded in Australia, and main aspects of their pathogeneses, epidemiology, diagnoses, treatment and control.<h4>Methods</h4>Six electronic databases were searched for publications on GINs of Australian horses that met our inclusion criteria for the systematic review. Subsets of publications were subjected to review epidemiology, diagnoses, pathogeneses, treatment and control of GINs of horses from Australia.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 51 articles published between 1950 to 2018 were included. The main GINs reported in Australian horses were cyathostomins (at least 28 species), Draschia megastoma, Habronema muscae, H. majus, Oxyuris equi, Parascaris equorum, Strongyloides westeri and Trichostrongylus axei across different climatic regions of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. Nematodes are diagnosed based on the traditional McMaster egg counting technique, though molecular markers to characterise common GINs of equines were characterised in 1990s. The use of anthelmintic drugs remains the most widely-used strategy for controlling equine GIN parasites in Australia; however, the threshold of faecal egg count that should trigger treatment in horses, remains controversial. Furthermore, anthelmintic resistance within GIN population of horses is becoming a common problem in Australia.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Although GINs infecting Australian horses have been the subject of occasional studies over the past few decades, the effective control of GIN infections is hampered by a generalised lack of knowledge in various disciplines of equine parasitology. Therefore, coordinated and focused research is required to fill our knowledge gaps in these areas to maximise equine health and minimise economic losses associated with the parasitic infections in Australia.
Project description:We present here miRTrace, the first algorithm to trace microRNA sequencing data back to their taxonomic origins. This is a challenge with profound implications for forensics, parasitology, food control, and research settings where cross-contamination can compromise results. miRTrace accurately (>?99%) assigns real and simulated data to 14 important animal and plant groups, sensitively detects parasitic infection in mammals, and discovers the primate origin of single cells. Applying our algorithm to over 700 public datasets, we find evidence that over 7% are cross-contaminated and present a novel solution to clean these computationally, even after sequencing has occurred. miRTrace is freely available at https://github.com/friedlanderlab/mirtrace .
Project description:Insular wildlife populations provide opportunities to examine biological questions in systems that are relatively closed and potentially tractable, striking examples being the long-term studies of ecology and evolution in the red deer and feral sheep populations on the Hebridean islands of Rum and St Kilda. In the case of parasitology, Understanding of parasitic infections insular wildlife populations in conjunction with knowledge of their origins has the potential to add a fresh perspective to disease control in humans and domestic animals. In the case of parasitology, understanding infections of insular wildlife populations, in conjunction with knowledge of their origins, has the potential to add a fresh perspective to disease control in humans and domestic animals. With this in mind, gross and molecular examination for the presence of cyclophyllidean tapeworms was performed on the viscera and rectal contents of 17 preserved specimens of Apodemus sylvaticus field mice and on the naturally voided faeces of a further four mice on the remote archipelago of St Kilda. Molecular speciation of hexacanth embryos extracted from the faeces of two mice, using nucleotide sequence analysis of the ribosomal cytochrome c-oxidase subunit-1, confirmed infection with Hymenolepis hibernia. Phylogenetic analysis showed that these were genetically distinct from Hymenolepis diminuta, previously reported in the insular A. sylvaticus mice, and from other published H. hibernia haplotypes. There was insufficient hymenolepidid tapeworm phylogeographic variation to resolve the origins of the co-evolved St Kilda mice, primarily due to a lack of published H. hibernia Cox-1 sequence data across the parasite's geographical range. Nevertheless, the Maximum Likelihood haplotype tree shows the potential for molecular parasitology to resolve a host-parasite relationship once more data become available. Morphological diagnostic features of zoonotic H. hibernia eggs are also described.