Parasites of Medical Importance (Landes Bioscience Medical Handbook (Vademecum)) by: Anthony J. Nappi
year: 2002 pages: 156 bookmarked: yes paginated: yes vector: yes cover: yes searchable: yes
size: 9.03 MB [ 9465368 bytes ] type: status: normal language: en [ english ]
Virtually every organism serves as the host for a complement of parasites.Parasitism is so common that it is rare to find classes of animals without members that have adopted a parasitic mode of living. Evidence gained from various archeological studies indicates that parasitic diseases existed in prehistoric human populations. Since there is no evidence to suggest that our long and intimate association with parasites will ever end, it seems reasonable to propose that the study of human parasites warrants some consideration. However, the study of parasites is a very challenging endeavor. Host-parasite associations involve complex biochemical, physiological, behavioral and ecological adaptations that very likely have co-evolved independently and on many different occasions. These complex and intimate interactions are continually evolving as counterstrategies in both host and parasite populations, thus limiting our ability to adequately study the factors that influence immune competency, parasite virulence, adaptability, epidemiological diversity, and drug resistance. However, the most important challenge facing parasitologists derives not from technical or experimental difficulties, but from the fact that most of the parasitic diseases that have a major impact on humans are largely associated with the rural poor in tropical, developing countries, which typically attract little interest from strictly commercial enterprises and other agencies that fund research. Today, the extent of human suffering due to parasites is incalculable and intolerable. The physiological, pathological and economic problems caused by parasites are global concerns, and it is imperative that health professionals have some understanding of the complex interactions between humans and their parasites. Inexplicably, many medical schools fail to offer a curriculum that contains a formal course in parasitic diseases, or, in some cases, even to provide a single lecture on the topic. It is our belief that the collaborative efforts of parasitologists and medical professionals are urgently needed to improve efforts to treat parasitic infections. Parasites of Medical Importance is designed primarily for health professions and students interested in pursuing careers that will address the growing threat current and emerging parasitic diseases pose to the global population. In preparing this textbook we assumed that it would be a first exposure to the study of parasites for those who have had little or no formal instruction in parasitic diseases. Thus, emphasis has been placed on parasite life cycles and host pathology, with limited discussions of parasite morphology, taxonomy, and pharmacological treatments. The authors assume full responsibility for omissions or any mistakes that appear in the book, and will correct such issues in subsequent editions.