Guest editor on the recent special issue of Parasitology on Control of cestode zoonoses in Asia: role of basic and applied science, Akira Ito, talks here about why it is important to study neglected zoonotic diseases.

“On a global scale, both human cystic (CE) and alveolar echinococcoses (AE) and cysticercosis due to Taenia solium are classed as neglected zoonotic diseases (NZD). These zoonotic cestodiases require two mammalian hosts for the completion of their life-cycles through natural or anthropogenic-mediated predator-prey systems. In this Special Issue, we focus mostly on taeniases/cysticercoses and echinococcoses in developing countries and regions of Eurasia.

The first topic is a discussion of control of cysticercosis with reviews and original articles. Cysticercosis is transmitted exclusively from humans (taeniasis carriers) to humans. Taeniasis carriers acquire the infection through consumption of pork contaminated with cysticerci of T. solium. T. solium taeniasis is typically endemic in remote or rural areas, whereas cysticercosis with a higher risk in endemic areas may occur anywhere that taeniasis carriers live or visit. Cysticercosis is now a worldwide emerging disease through travel and globalization, but no one knows the full extent of this until neurocysticercosis (NCC) cases have been identified locally. The second topic concerns control of echinococcoses. Echinococcus species complete their life-cycles via domestic animals and/or wildlife through predator-prey interactions. Human echinococcoses, either AE or CE, are caused by accidental ingestion of eggs released from dogs, foxes or wolves in Eurasia. AE due to E. multilocularis occurs focally in regions of developed and developing countries of the northern hemisphere, while CE due to E. granulosus has a worldwide distribution and is of greater concern. Another topic in this Special Issue describes the new species, E. canadensis. E. multilocularis was regarded half a century ago to be distributed mainly in European Alpine countries and in western Alaska; however it has since been found widely in mountainous or upland areas in almost all countries in the holarctic and central regions of Eurasia, and has expanded its range in temperate areas of Europe. Molecular evaluations of E. canadensis and Echinococcus spp. from patients and animals in Russia and from wild animals in Mongolia are proving to be highly revealing. The final topic describes various aspects of transmission ecology and epidemiology of AE in Eurasia.

In this symposium proceedings, we have tried to link molecular, immunological and spatial ecological approaches in order to provide research-based evidence that will lead to the control of these zoonotic cestodiases. We anticipate that all of the articles in this Special Issue will have a high impact and readers interested in the control of infectious diseases will find much to stimulate their continuing interest.”

Read the special issue for free until 30th April 2014.


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