Article

The molecular epidemiology of parasite infections: tools and applications.

Fish Health Unit, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch WA 6150, Australia.
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.73). 02/2012; 181(2):102-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2011.10.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Molecular epidemiology, broadly defined, is the application of molecular genetic techniques to the dynamics of disease in a population. In this review, we briefly describe molecular and analytical tools available for molecular epidemiological studies and then provide an overview of how they can be applied to better understand parasitic disease. A range of new molecular tools have been developed in recent years, allowing for the direct examination of parasites from clinical or environmental samples, and providing access to relatively cheap, rapid, high throughput molecular assays. At the same time, new analytical approaches, in particular those derived from coalescent theory, have been developed to provide more robust estimates of evolutionary processes and demographic parameters from multilocus, genotypic data. To date, the primary application of molecular epidemiology has been to provide specific and sensitive identification of parasites and to resolve taxonomic issues, particularly at the species level and below. Population genetic studies have also been used to determine the extent of genetic diversity among populations of parasites and the degree to which this diversity is associated with different host cycles or epidemiologically important phenotypes. Many of these studies have also shed new light on transmission cycles of parasites, particularly the extent to which zoonotic transmission occurs, and on the prevalence and importance of mixed infections with different parasite species or intraspecific variants (polyparasitism). A major challenge, and one which is now being addressed by an increasing number of studies, is to find and utilize genetic markers for complex traits of epidemiological significance, such as drug resistance, zoonotic potential and virulence.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
125 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The debilitating zoonosis Chagas disease (CD) is caused by infection with the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. One century after its discovery, a curative agent remains elusive. Immune evasion by T. cruzi results in a poorly controlled infection in the host, which can end in either sudden death or a fatal chronic disease that often eventuates after years of an asymptomatic infection. Polyparasitism or mixed/concurrent infections occur more often than not and contribute to the high degree of variability observed across both disease progression and the success of therapeutic interventions. A thorough understanding of the effects of polyparasitism on CD is essential for improving the likelihood of containing, treating, and eventually eliminating CD.
    Trends in Parasitology 02/2014; · 5.51 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis felineus and Opisthorchis viverrini are the three most important liver flukes involved in human health, infecting more than 45 million people worldwide. Both C. sinensis and O. viverrini, and possibly O. felineus, can induce human cholangiocarcinoma as well as inducing other hepatobiliary pathology. Although the life cycles of all three species are similar, only that of O. felineus in Europe remains predominantly zoonotic, while O. felineus in Asia and C. sinensis have a stronger mixture of zoonotic and anthroponotic components in their life cycles. Opisthorchis viverrini from the Mekong area of southeastern Asia is predominantly anthroponotic. Here we discuss the comparative epidemiology of these three taxa comparing in detail the use of first, second and final animal hosts, and consider the potential role of humans in spreading these pathogens. In addition we discuss the genetic structure of all three species in relation to potentially cryptic species complexes.
    International journal for parasitology 08/2013; · 3.39 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This review examines parasite zoonoses and wildlife in the context of the One Health triad that encompasses humans, domestic animals, wildlife and the changing ecosystems in which they live. Human (anthropogenic) activities influence the flow of all parasite infections within the One Health triad and the nature and impact of resulting spillover events are examined. Examples of spillover from wildlife to humans and/or domestic animals, and vice versa, are discussed, as well as emerging issues, particularly the need for parasite surveillance of wildlife populations. Emphasis is given to Trypanosoma cruzi and related species in Australian wildlife, Trichinella, Echinococcus, Giardia, Baylisascaris, Toxoplasma and Leishmania.
    International journal for parasitology 07/2013; · 3.39 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
9 Downloads
Available from
May 28, 2014