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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PARASITIC BIODIVERSITY AND THE U.S. NATIONAL PARASITE COLLECTION

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases

Title: Tradition and transition: parasitic zoonoses of people and animals in Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland

Authors
item Jenkins, Emily
item Castrodale, Louisa
item DE Rosemond, Simone
item Dixon, Brent
item Elmore, Stacey
item Gesy, Karen
item Hoberg, Eric
item Polley, Lydden
item Schurer, Janna
item Simard, Manon
item Thompson, Andrew

Submitted to: Advances in Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Citation: Jenkins, E., Castrodale, L., De Rosemond, S., Dixon, B., Elmore, S., Gesy, K., Hoberg, E.P., Polley, L., Schurer, J., Simard, M., Thompson, A. 2013. Tradition and transition: parasitic zoonoses of people and animals in Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland. Advances in Parasitology. 82:33-204.

Interpretive Summary: Zoonotic parasites are those that are transmissible from animals to humans, and are often the cause of substantial disease. Understanding patterns of parasite diversity, life history (basic biology, pathways for exposure) and geographic distributions are critical in developing strategies to address the potential dissemination of zoonotic pathogens among people. Zoonotic parasites continue to be recognized as important causes of endemic and emerging human disease in northern North America and Greenland, with increased prevalence of some parasites in Indigenous and northern residents as compared to the general North American population. This is in part due to traditional relationships between people and the land, cultural practices of harvesting and consumption of wildlife, suboptimal water and sewage treatment infrastructure, large free-roaming dog populations, and lack of access to veterinary services. The North today is in transition, facing increased pressures of resource extraction, globalization of trade and travel, and rapid and accelerating environmental change. The effects of these changes are already being felt, making it timely to explore the past and present state of the knowledge about the diversity, distribution, and epidemiology of zoonotic parasites in the North, including three protozoans (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasma), three nematodes (Trichinella, Toxocara, and Anisakidae), and three cestodes (Diphyllobothriidae, Echinococcus granulosus/canadensis, and E. multilocularis). Our synoptic synthesis provides the opportunity to qualitatively assess the risks of these zoonotic parasites from a public health perspective, and to predict the effects of social and environmental change on their transmission and ecological significance in the North. Our observations and interpretations will be of significance to those scientists working in northern parasitology and ecology, and to health care professionals who need basic information about the distribution and identification of a diverse assemblage of zoonotic parasites circulating in aquatic and terrestrial environments.

Technical Abstract: Zoonotic parasites have been recognized as important causes of endemic and emerging human disease in northern North America and Greenland, with increased prevalence of some parasites in Indigenous and northern residents as compared to the general North American population. This is in part due to traditional relationships between people and the land, cultural practices of harvesting and consumption of wildlife, suboptimal water and sewage treatment infrastructure, large free-roaming dog populations, and lack of access to veterinary services. The North today is in transition, facing increased pressures of resource extraction, globalization of trade and travel, and rapid and accelerating environmental change. The effects of these changes are already being felt, making it timely to review the past and present state of the knowledge about the diversity, distribution, and epidemiology of zoonotic parasites in the North, including three protozoans (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasma), three nematodes (Trichinella, Toxocara, and Anisakidae), and three cestodes (Diphyllobothriidae, Echinococcus granulosus/canadensis, and E. multilocularis). This synoptic synthesis also provides the opportunity to qualitatively assess the risks of these zoonotic parasites from a public health perspective, and to predict the effects of social and environmental change on their transmission and ecological significance in the North.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014