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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED BIOSYSTEMATICS AND TAXONOMY FOR PARASITES AMONG UNGULATES AND OTHER VERTEBRATES Title: Zoonotic Parasites, Our Enviroment and Change

Authors
item Polley, Lydden - UNIV SASKATCHEWAN
item Kutz, Susan - UNIV CALGARY
item Hoberg, Eric

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Environmental Health
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2009
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Parasitic diseases continue to represent a serious challenge to human health and globally constitute an emerging threat to economic development. Environmental changes arising from nature and human activity are affecting patterns for the occurrence and significance of many infectious diseases, including zoonotic parasites, which are those naturally transmitted between domestic animals or wildlife and people. Infectious diseases of people, domestic animals and wildlife are among many sensitive indicators of environmental change. The occurrence and severity of these diseases is determined by a triad of complex interactions linking people and animals, the infectious agents causing the diseases, and their shared environment. Changes in any of these components or the linkages between them can lead to altered patterns of disease, including emergence of new and resurgence of old diseases. Among infectious agents of people, more than half also naturally infect domestic animals and/or wildlife, and wildlife are probably the most important source for emerging infectious diseases in people. As environmental changes continue, and perhaps accelerate, their influence on these parasites, and on other infectious diseases, is expected to increase. Understanding the linkages between the environment and infectious diseases of both people and animals is critical for the protection of global health and wellbeing, particularly in areas of the world where these changes are likely to have the most serious effects. We explore the issues surrounding parasites and zoonoses, and with specific examples review actual and potential effects on the ecology of parasitic zoonoses resulting from changes in human distributions, land use, hydrology, climate, and human behavior. The possible effects of environmental change on food, water and air quality as determinants of transmission of zoonotic parasites to people is discussed, and brief case studies are presented for the links between a changing environment and zoonotic parasites in people, domestic animals, wildlife and marine systems.

Technical Abstract: Environmental changes arising from nature and human activity are affecting patterns for the occurrence and significance of many infectious diseases, including zoonotic parasites, which are those naturally transmitted between domestic animals or wildlife and people. As these changes continue, and perhaps accelerate, their influence on these parasites, and on other infectious diseases, is expected to increase. Understanding the linkages between the environment and infectious diseases of both people and animals is critical for the protection of global health and wellbeing, particularly in areas of the world where these changes are likely to have the most serious effects. This chapter briefly introduces parasites and zoonoses, and with specific examples reviews actual and potential effects on the ecology of parasitic zoonoses resulting from changes in human distributions, land use, hydrology, climate, and human behavior. The possible effects of environmental change on food, water and air quality as determinants of transmission of zoonotic parasites to people is discussed, and brief case studies are presented for the links between a changing environment and zoonotic parasites in people, domestic animals, wildlife and marine systems. Finally, a brief global perspective on parasitic zoonoses is presented.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014