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      Parasite life-cycle studies: a plea to resurrect an old parasitological tradition

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      Journal of Helminthology

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          Many helminth taxa have complex life cycles, involving different life stages infecting different host species in a particular order to complete a single generation. Although the broad outlines of these cycles are known for any higher taxon, the details (morphology and biology of juvenile stages, specific identity of intermediate hosts) are generally unknown for particular species. In this review, we first provide quantitative evidence that although new helminth species are described annually at an increasing rate, the parallel effort to elucidate life cycles has become disproportionately smaller over time. We then review the use of morphological matching, experimental infections and genetic matching as approaches to elucidate helminth life cycles. Next we discuss the various research areas or disciplines that could benefit from a solid knowledge of particular life cycles, including integrative taxonomy, the study of parasite evolution, food-web ecology, and the management and control of parasitic diseases. Finally, we end by proposing changes to the requirements for new species descriptions and further large-scale attempts to genetically match adult and juvenile helminth stages in regional faunas, as part of a plea to parasitologists to bring parasite life-cycle studies back into mainstream research.

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          Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

          Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists.
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            FLOTAC: new multivalent techniques for qualitative and quantitative copromicroscopic diagnosis of parasites in animals and humans.

            Accurate diagnosis of parasitic infections is of pivotal importance for both individual patient management and population-based studies, such as drug efficacy trials and surveillance of parasitic disease control and elimination programs, in both human and veterinary public health. In this study, we present protocols for the FLOTAC basic, dual and double techniques, which are promising new multivalent, sensitive, accurate and precise methods for qualitative and quantitative copromicroscopic analysis. These various methods make use of the FLOTAC apparatus, a cylindrical device with two 5-ml flotation chambers, which allows up to 1 g of stool to be prepared for microscopic analysis. Compared with currently more widely used diagnostic methods for parasite detection in animals (e.g., McMaster and Wisconsin techniques) and humans (e.g., Kato-Katz and ether-based concentration techniques), the FLOTAC techniques show higher sensitivity and accuracy. All FLOTAC techniques can be performed on fresh fecal material as well as preserved stool samples, and require approximately 12-15 min of preparation time before microscopic analysis.
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              Eradication of Anopheles gambiae from Brazil: lessons for malaria control in Africa?

              Current malaria-control strategies emphasise domestic protection against adult mosquitoes with insecticides, and improved access to medical services. Malaria prevention by killing adult mosquitoes is generally favoured because moderately reducing their longevity can radically suppress community-level transmission. By comparison, controlling larvae has a less dramatic effect at any given level of coverage and is often more difficult to implement. Nevertheless, the historically most effective campaign against African vectors is the eradication of accidentally introduced Anopheles gambiae from 54000 km(2) of largely ideal habitat in northeast Brazil in the 1930s and early 1940s. This outstanding success was achieved through an integrated programme but relied overwhelmingly upon larval control. This experience was soon repeated in Egypt and another larval control programme successfully suppressed malaria for over 20 years around a Zambian copper mine. These affordable approaches were neglected after the advent of dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT) and global malaria-control policy shifted toward domestic adulticide methods. Larval-control methods should now be re-prioritised for research, development, and implementation as an additional way to roll back malaria.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Journal of Helminthology
                J. Helminthol.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0022-149X
                1475-2697
                November 2017
                February 7 2017
                November 2017
                : 91
                : 06
                : 647-656
                Article
                10.1017/S0022149X16000924
                © 2017

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