Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: 'emerging' Parasitic Infections in Arctic Ungulates

Authors
item Kutz, Susan - WESTERN COLL VET MED
item Hoberg, Eric
item Nagy, John - GOVT OF NW TERRITORIES
item Polley, Lydden - WESTERN COLL VET MED

Submitted to: Annual Meeting of Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 3, 2003
Publication Date: July 12, 2003
Citation: Kutz, S.J., Hoberg, E.P., Nagy, J., Polley, L. 2003. Emerging parasitic infections and diseases of Arctic ungulates. International Workshop for Arctic Parasitology II. Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland. 44:109-118.

Interpretive Summary: Detailed studies of parasite biodiversity, including assessments of host and geographic distribution and evolutionary history are the foundations for understanding patterns of disease attributed to various helminth and protozoan species. Such investigations in the northern Nearctic are begining to alter our understanding of host-parasite systems across this region, and have major implications for recognizing changing distributions for pathogens and parasites, and the mergence of disease among ungulate species. Emergence of infectious diseases in people and livestock in tropical and temperate regions has commanded considerable attention in the recent literature. The main drivers for emergence include a changing environment, shrinking habitats for wildlife, and movement of people, animals, pathogens, and vectors. The Canadian north is undergoing considerable change caused primarily by resource exploration and development, and climate warming. These biotic and abiotic changes are altering the landscape and the interactions among people, animals, pathogens and the environment. Recent research indicates that an array of parasitic infections and diseases are emerging in wildlife in the Canadian north. Climate warming is one important driver for the emergence of disease associated with Umingmakstrongylus pallikuukensis, a nematode lungworm of muskoxen. Protostrongylus stilesi, the sheep lungworm, has emerged (or re-emerged) in muskoxen following the re-introduction of muskoxen into historical range that has brought them into sympatry with Dall¿s sheep. Teladorsagia boreoarcticus, a recently described and common abomasal nematode of muskoxen is emerging as an important disease-causing parasite and may have an important regulating role for muskox populations on Banks Island, NT. These and other arctic host-parasite systems are exquisitely tuned to their environment and climate change and other ecological disruptions are predicted to alter the stability of these assemblages. Faunal baselines, knowledge of parasite and host ecology, together with predictive models, are essential for anticipating and detecting altered patterns of host and geographic distribution and the emergence of parasitic infections and diseases.

Technical Abstract: Emergence of infectious diseases in people and livestock in tropical and temperate regions has commanded considerable attention in the recent literature. The main drivers for emergence include a changing environment, shrinking habitats for wildlife, and movement of people, animals, pathogens, and vectors. The Canadian north is undergoing considerable change caused primarily by resource exploration and development, and climate warming. These biotic and abiotic changes are altering the landscape and the interactions among people, animals, pathogens and the environment. Recent research indicates that an array of parasitic infections and diseases are emerging in wildlife in the Canadian north. Climate warming is one important driver for the emergence of disease associated with Umingmakstrongylus pallikuukensis, a nematode lungworm of muskoxen. Protostrongylus stilesi, the sheep lungworm, has emerged (or re-emerged) in muskoxen following the re-introduction of muskoxen into historical range that has brought them into sympatry with Dall¿s sheep. Teladorsagia boreoarcticus, a newly described and common abomasal nematode of muskoxen is emerging as an important disease-causing parasite and may have an important regulating role for muskox populations on Banks Island, NT. These and other arctic host-parasite systems are exquisitely tuned to their environment and climate change and other ecological disruptions are predicted to alter the stability of these assemblages. Faunal baselines, knowledge of parasite and host ecology, together with predictive models, are essential for anticipating and detecting altered patterns of host and geographic distribution and the emergence of parasitic infections and diseases.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014