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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: Soil transmitted helminthiases: implications of climate change and human behaviour.

Authors
item Weaver, Haylee -
item Hawdon, John -
item Hoberg, Eric

Submitted to: Trends in Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2010
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Citation: Weaver, H.J., Hawdon, J., Hoberg, E.P. 2010. Soil transmitted helminthiases: implications of climate change and human behaviour. Trends in Parasitology. 26:574-581.

Interpretive Summary: The direct and indirect impacts of climate change are now regarded as considerable threats to agricultural systems, socioeconomic development and the well being of people globally. Parasitic helminths and the complex host-parasite assemblages that circulate among humans, domestic food animals or wildlife species will respond in varying ways to the long term cumulative effects of climate warming, and also to episodes of extreme events for temperature, precipitation and humidity. Until recently, much of the research on complex helminth-host associations in the context of climate have focused on various parasites in ungulates, although it has generally been recognized that parasites circulating in humans may be under the influence of climate. In this study, we explore relationships at the interface of human behavior and climate which may serve to determine the distribution and impact of parasites. Soil transmitted helminthiases (STH) collectively cause the highest global burden of parasitic disease after malaria and are most prevalent in the poorest communities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is predicted to alter the physical environment through cumulative impacts of warming and extreme fluctuations in temperature and precipitation, with cascading effects on human health and wellbeing, food security and socioeconomic infrastructure. Understanding how the spectrum of climate change effects will influence STH is therefore of critical importance to the control of the global burden of human parasitic disease. Realistic progress in the global control of STH in a changing climate requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes the sciences (e.g., thermal thresholds for parasite development and resilience) and social sciences (e.g., behavior and implementation of education and sanitation programs).

Technical Abstract: Soil transmitted helminthiases (STH) collectively cause the highest global burden of parasitic disease after malaria and are most prevalent in the poorest communities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is predicted to alter the physical environment through cumulative impacts of warming and extreme fluctuations in temperature and precipitation, with cascading effects on human health and wellbeing, food security and socioeconomic infrastructure. Understanding how the spectrum of climate change effects will influence STH is therefore of critical importance to the control of the global burden of human parasitic disease. Realistic progress in the global control of STH in a changing climate requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes the sciences (e.g., thermal thresholds for parasite development and resilience) and social sciences (e.g., behavior and implementation of education and sanitation programs).

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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