Browsing by Subject "PARASITES"

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  • Pietilä, Jukka-Pekka; Meri, Taru; Siikamäki, Heli; Tyyni, Elisabet; Kerttula, Anne-Marie; Pakarinen , Laura; Jokiranta, T. Sakari; Kantele, Anu (2019)
    Despite the global distribution of the intestinal protozoan Dientamoeba fragilis, its clinical picture remains unclear. This results from underdiagnosis: microscopic screening methods either lack sensitivity (wet preparation) or fail to reveal Dientamoeba (formalin-fixed sample). Aim: In a retrospective study setting, we characterised the clinical picture of dientamoebiasis and compared it with giardiasis. In addition, we evaluated an improved approach to formalin-fixed samples for suitability in Dientamoeba diagnostics. Methods: This study comprised four parts: (i) a descriptive part scrutinising rates of Dientamoeba findings; (ii) a methodological part analysing an approach to detect Dientamoebalike structures in formalin samples; (iii) a clinical part corn paring demographics and symptoms between patients with dientamoebiasis (n = 352) and giardiasis (n = 272), and (iv) a therapeutic part (n = 89 patients) investigating correlation between faecal eradication and clinical improvement. Results: The rate of Dientamoeba findings increased 20-fold after introducing criteria for Dientamoeba-like structures in formalin-fixed samples (88.9% sensitivity and 83.3% specificity). A further increase was seen after implementing faecal PCR. Compared with patients with giardiasis, the symptoms in the Dientamoeba group lasted longer and more often included abdominal pain, cramping, faecal urgency and loose rather than watery stools. Resolved symptoms correlated with successful faecal eradication (p<0.001). Conclusions: Previously underdiagnosed, Dientamoeba has become the most frequently recorded pathogenic enteroparasite in Finland. This presumably results from improved diagnostics with either PCR or detection of Dientamoeba-like structures in formalin-fixed samples, an approach applicable also in resource-poor settings. Symptoms of dientamoebiasis differ slightly from those of giardiasis; patients with distressing symptoms require treatment.
  • Grunenwald, Caroline M.; Carstensen, Michelle; Hildebrand, Erik; Elam, Jacob; Laaksonen, Sauli; Oksanen, Antti; Gerhold, Richard W. (2016)
    Background: Moose (Alces alces) are a culturally and economically valued species in Minnesota, where the northeast population has decreased by 60 % since 2006. The cause of the decline is currently unclear; however, parasites, predation, and climate change have all been implicated. Nematode parasites are important pathogens in North American moose, potentially causing severe disease and mortality. Recent spread of Rumenfilaria andersoni, a filarioid nematode of moose, has been documented in Finnish cervids; however, little is known about the epidemiology of this parasite in North America. Methods: To investigate the prevalence and distribution of R. andersoni, 584 blood samples were collected from live-captured and dead animals and screened microscopically for the presence of microfilariae using a modified Knott's test. Microfilariae were identified based on morphological characteristics. A subset of Knott's-positive animals was subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with filarioid-specific primers targeting the first internal transcribed spacer region (ITS-1) of the rRNA gene cluster. Results: Rumenfilaria microfilariae were present in 20.5 % of Minnesota moose (n = 352), with slight fluctuations observed over four years. Minnesota white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (n = 2) and moose (n = 44) from Alaska, Montana, Washington, Maine, and New Hampshire also harbored R. andersoni, suggesting this parasite occurs widely throughout North American moose herds, and white-tailed deer can serve as a patent host. Sequence analysis of cervid blood (moose, n = 15; white-tailed deer, n = 1) confirmed the identity of R. andersoni and revealed the existence of two distinct clades. Genetic comparisons of R. andersoni isolates from North America and semi-domesticated Finnish reindeer found the two groups to be closely related, supporting previous hypotheses that R. andersoni was recently introduced into Finland by the importation of deer from the United States. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge these observations represent the first report of R. andersoni within the contiguous United States and reveal this nematode as a common parasite of North American moose and white-tailed deer. Although the implications of R. andersoni infection on moose health is unclear, increased awareness of this parasite will help prevent unintentional introduction of R. andersoni into naive populations via the translocation of wild and captive cervids.
  • Boldin, Barbara; Kisdi, Eva (2016)
    Evolutionary suicide is a riveting phenomenon in which adaptive evolution drives a viable population to extinction. Gyllenberg and Parvinen (Bull Math Biol 63(5):981-993, 2001) showed that, in a wide class of deterministic population models, a discontinuous transition to extinction is a necessary condition for evolutionary suicide. An implicit assumption of their proof is that the invasion fitness of a rare strategy is well-defined also in the extinction state of the population. Epidemic models with frequency-dependent incidence, which are often used to model the spread of sexually transmitted infections or the dynamics of infectious diseases within herds, violate this assumption. In these models, evolutionary suicide can occur through a non-catastrophic bifurcation whereby pathogen adaptation leads to a continuous decline of host (and consequently pathogen) population size to zero. Evolutionary suicide of pathogens with frequency-dependent transmission can occur in two ways, with pathogen strains evolving either higher or lower virulence.
  • Cuadros, Juan; Perez-Tanoira, Ramon; Prieto-Perez, Laura; Martin-Martin, Ines; Berzosa, Pedro; Gonzalez, Vicenta; Tisiano, Gebre; Balcha, Seble; Manuel Ramos, Jose; Gorgolas, Miguel (2015)
    Background In up to one third of the hospitals in some rural areas of Africa, laboratory services in malaria diagnosis are limited to microscopy by thin film, as no capability to perform thick film exists (gold standard in terms of sensitivity for malaria diagnosis). A new rapid molecular malaria diagnostic test called Loop-mediated isothermal DNA amplification (LAMP) has been recently validated in clinical trials showing exceptional sensitivity and specificity features. It could be a reliable diagnostic tool to be implemented without special equipment or training. Objective The objective of this proof of concept study was to confirm the feasibility of using LAMP technique for diagnosis of malaria in a rural Ethiopian hospital with limited resources. Methodology/Principal Findings This study was carried out in Gambo General Hospital, West Arsi Province (Ethiopia), from November 1st to December 31st 2013. A total of 162 patients with a non-focal febrile syndrome were investigated. The diagnostic capability (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values) of rapid malaria tests and microscopy by thin film was evaluated in comparison with LAMP. Eleven (6.79%) out of the 162 patients with fever and suspected malaria, tested positive for LAMP, 3 (1.85%) for rapid malaria tests and none of the eleven cases was detected by thin film microscopy. Conclusions/Significance LAMP can be performed in basic rural laboratories without the need for specialized infrastructure and it may set a reliable tool for malaria control to detect a low level parasitemia.
  • Montiglio, P. O.; Gotanda, K. M.; Kratochwil, C. F.; Laskowski, K. L.; Farine, D. R. (2020)
    Because genes and phenotypes are embedded within individuals, and individuals within populations, interactions within one level of biological organization are inherently linked to interactors at others. Here, we expand the network paradigm to consider that nodes can be embedded within other nodes, and connections (edges) between nodes at one level of organization form "bridges" for connections between nodes embedded within them. Such hierarchically embedded networks highlight two central properties of biological systems: 1) processes occurring across multiple levels of organization shape connections among biological units at any given level of organization and 2) ecological effects occurring at a given level of organization can propagate up or down to additional levels. Explicitly considering the embedded structure of evolutionary and ecological networks can capture otherwise hidden feedbacks and generate new insights into key biological phenomena, ultimately promoting a broader understanding of interactions in evolutionary theory. Lay Summary: Interactions are ubiquitous across biological systems. Modeling their consequences requires capturing how units are organized across biological scales: gene and protein interactions shape phenotypic traits within individuals, individuals are embedded within populations, populations within communities, and communities within ecosystems. Doing so reveals how indirect connections among units arise from the structure of connections at higher or lower levels of organization, and how effects at one level of the network propagate across neighboring levels.
  • Woestmann, Luisa; Stucki, Dimitri; Saastamoinen, Marjo (2019)
    Life history strategies often shape biological interactions by specifying the parameters for possible encounters, such as the timing, frequency, or way of exposure to parasites. Consequentially, alterations in life-history strategies are closely intertwined with such interaction processes. Understanding the connection between life-history alterations and host-parasite interactions can therefore be important to unveil potential links between adaptation to environmental change and changes in interaction processes. Here, we studied how two different host-parasite interaction processes, oral and hemocoelic exposure to bacteria, affect various life histories of the Glanville fritillary butterfly Melitaea cinxia. We either fed or injected adult butterflies with the bacterium Micrococcus luteus and observed for differences in immune defenses, reproductive life histories, and longevity, compared to control exposures. Our results indicate differences in how female butterflies adapt to the two exposure types. Orally infected females showed a reduction in clutch size and an earlier onset of reproduction, whereas a reduction in egg weight was observed for hemocoelically exposed females. Both exposure types also led to shorter intervals between clutches and a reduced life span. These results indicate a relationship between host-parasite interactions and changes in life-history strategies. This relationship could cast restrictions on the ability to adapt to new environments and consequentially influence the population dynamics of a species in changing environmental conditions.
  • Zohdy, Sarah; Kemp, Addison D; Durden, Lance A.; Wright, Patricia C.; Jernvall, Jukka (2012)
  • Aivelo, Tuomas Juho Eero; Medlar, Alan John; Löytynoja, Ari Pekka; Laakkonen, Juha Tapio; Jernvall, Jukka Tapani (2018)
    Sympatric species are known to host the same parasites species. Nevertheless, surveys examining parasite assemblages in sympatric species are rare. To understand how parasite assemblages in sympatric host species differ in a given locality, we used a noninvasive identification method based on high-throughput sequencing. We collected fecal samples from sympatric species in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, from September to December in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and identified their parasites by metabarcoding, sequencing a region of the small ribosomal subunit (18S) gene. Our survey included 11 host species, including endemic primates, rodents, frogs, gastropods, and nonendemic rats and dogs. We collected 872 samples, of which 571 contained nematodes and 249 were successfully sequenced. We identified nine putative species of parasites, although their correspondence to actual parasite species is not clear as the resolution of the marker gene differs between nematode clades. For the host species that we successfully sampled with 10 or more positive occurrences of nematodes, i.e., mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus), black rats (Rattus rattus), and frogs (Anura), the parasite assemblage compositions differed significantly among host species, sampling sites, and sampling years. Our metabarcoding method shows promise in interrogating parasite assemblages in sympatric host species and our results emphasize the importance of choosing marker regions for parasite identification accuracy.
  • Linder, Ewert; Grote, Anne; Varjo, Sami; Linder, Nina; Lebbad, Marianne; Lundin, Mikael; Diwan, Vinod; Hannuksela, Jari; Lundin, Johan (2013)
  • Lilley, Thomas M.; Prokkola, Jenni M.; Blomberg, Anna S.; Paterson, Steve; Johnson, Joseph S.; Turner, Gregory G.; Bartonička, Tomáš; Bachorec, Erik; Reeder, DeeAnn M.; Field, Kenneth A. (2019)
    Resistance and tolerance allow organisms to cope with potentially life-threatening pathogens. Recently introduced pathogens initially induce resistance responses, but natural selection favors the development of tolerance, allowing for a commensal relationship to evolve. Mycosis by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, causing white-nose syndrome (WNS) in Nearctic hibernating bats, has resulted in population declines since 2006. The pathogen, which spread from Europe, has infected species of Palearctic Myotis for a longer period. We compared ecologically relevant responses to the fungal infection in the susceptible Nearctic M. lucifugus and less susceptible Palearctic M. myotis, to uncover factors contributing to survival differences in the two species. Samples were collected from euthermic bats during arousal from hibernation, a naturally occurring phenomenon, during which transcriptional responses are activated. We compared the whole-transcriptome responses in wild bats infected with P. destructans hibernating in their natural habitat. Our results show dramatically different local transcriptional responses to the pathogen between uninfected and infected samples from the two species. Whereas we found 1526 significantly upregulated or downregulated transcripts in infected M. lucifugus, only one transcript was downregulated in M. myotis. The upregulated response pathways in M. lucifugus include immune cell activation and migration, and inflammatory pathways, indicative of an unsuccessful attempt to resist the infection. In contrast, M. myotis appears to tolerate P. destructans infection by not activating a transcriptional response. These host-microbe interactions determine pathology, contributing to WNS susceptibility, or commensalism, promoting tolerance to fungal colonization during hibernation that favors survival.
  • Jorissen, Michiel W. P.; Pariselle, Antoine; Huyse, Tine; Vreven, Emmanuel J.; Snoeks, Jos; Decru, Eva; Kusters, Thomas; Lunkayilakio, Soleil Wamuini; Bukinga, Fidel Muterezi; Artois, Tom; Vanhove, Maarten P. M. (2018)
    The Lower Congo Basin is characterized by a mangrove-lined estuary at its mouth and, further upstream, by many hydrogeographical barriers such as rapids and narrow gorges. Five localities in the mangroves and four from (upstream) left bank tributaries or pools were sampled. On the gills of Coptodon tholloni, Coptodon rendalli, Hemichromis elongatus, Hemichromis stellifer and Tylochromis praecox, 17 species of parasites (Dactylogyridae & Gyrodactylidae, Monogenea) were found, eight of which are new to science. Six of these are herein described: Cichlidogyrus bixlerzavalai n. sp. and Cichlidogyrus omari n. sp. from T praecox, Cichlidogyrus calycinus n. sp. and Cichlidogyrus polyenso n. sp. from H. elongatus, Cichlidogyrus kmentovae n. sp. from H. stellifer and Onchob-della ximenae n. sp. from both species of Hemichromis. On Cichlidogyrus reversati a ridge on the accessory piece was discovered that connects to the basal bulb of the penis. We report a putative spillback effect of the native parasites Cichlidogyrus berradae, Cichlidogyrus cubitus and Cichlidogyrus flexicolpos from C. tholloni to the introduced C. rendalli. From our results, we note that the parasite fauna of Lower Congo has a higher affinity with the fauna of West African and nearby freshwater ecoregions than it has with fauna of other regions of the Congo Basin and Central Africa.
  • Geraerts, Mare; Muterezi Bukinga, Fidel; Vanhove, Maarten P. M.; Pariselle, Antoine; Chocha Manda, Auguste; Vreven, Emmanuel; Huyse, Tine; Artois, Tom (2020)
    Background Monogenea van Beneden, 1858 is a group of parasitic flatworms, commonly found infecting bony fish. Several genera, such as Cichlidogyrus Paperna, 1960, are reported to include potential pathogenic species that can negatively impact aquaculture fish stocks. They can switch from introduced to native fish and vice versa. In Africa (and all over the world), fish species belonging to Cichlidae are often kept in aquaculture and represent a major source of food. Thus, research on the biodiversity and occurrence of monogenean species on these fish is of importance for aquaculture and conservation. The present study is a survey of the diversity of species of Cichlidogyrus in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on three cichlid species: Orthochromis sp. 'Lomami', Serranochromis cf. macrocephalus, and Tilapia sparrmanii Smith, 1840. Methods Specimens of Cichlidogyrus were isolated from the gills and mounted on glass slides with Hoyer's medium. The genital and haptoral hard parts were measured and drawn using interference contrast. Results In total, six species of Cichlidogyrus were found, all new to science: C. bulbophallus n. sp. and C. pseudozambezensis n. sp. on S. cf. macrocephalus, C. flagellum n. sp. and C. lobus n. sp. on T. sparrmanii, C. ranula n. sp. on S. cf. macrocephalus and Orthochromis sp. 'Lomami', and C. maeander n. sp. found on Orthochromis sp. 'Lomami' and T. sparrmanii. The first four species are considered to be strict specialists, C. ranula n. sp. an intermediate generalist and C. maeander n. sp. a generalist. These parasite species show morphological similarities to species found in the Lower Guinea and Zambezi ichthyofaunal provinces, which might be explained by past river capture events between river systems of the Congo Province and both these regions. Conclusions Serranochromis cf. macrocephalus and Orthochromis sp. 'Lomami' can harbour respectively three and two species of Cichlidogyrus, all described in this study. Tilapia sparrmanii can harbour seven species, of which three are described in the present study. These results highlight the species diversity of this parasite genus in the Congo Basin.
  • Dallas, Tad; Antão, Laura; Pöyry, Juha; Leinonen, Reima; Ovaskainen, Otso (2020)
    Spatially distinct pairs of sites may have similarly fluctuating population dynamics across large geographical distances, a phenomenon called spatial synchrony. However, species rarely exist in isolation, but rather as members of interactive communities, linked with other communities through dispersal (i.e. a metacommunity). Using data on Finnish moth communities sampled across 65 sites for 20 years, we examine the complex synchronous/anti-synchronous relationships among sites using the geography of synchrony framework. We relate site-level synchrony to mean and temporal variation in climatic data, finding that colder and drier sites-and those with the most drastic temperature increases-are important for spatial synchrony. This suggests that faster-warming sites contribute most strongly to site-level estimates of synchrony, highlighting the role of a changing climate to spatial synchrony. Considering the spatial variability in climate change rates is therefore important to understand metacommunity dynamics and identify habitats which contribute most strongly to spatial synchrony.
  • Mikonranta, Lauri; Mappes, Johanna; Laakso, Jouni; Ketola, Tarmo (2015)
    Background: Pathogens evolve in a close antagonistic relationship with their hosts. The conventional theory proposes that evolution of virulence is highly dependent on the efficiency of direct host-to-host transmission. Many opportunistic pathogens, however, are not strictly dependent on the hosts due to their ability to reproduce in the free-living environment. Therefore it is likely that conflicting selection pressures for growth and survival outside versus within the host, rather than transmission potential, shape the evolution of virulence in opportunists. We tested the role of within-host selection in evolution of virulence by letting a pathogen Serratia marcescens db11 sequentially infect Drosophila melanogaster hosts and then compared the virulence to strains that evolved only in the outside-host environment. Results: We found that the pathogen adapted to both Drosophila melanogaster host and novel outside-host environment, leading to rapid evolutionary changes in the bacterial life-history traits including motility, in vitro growth rate, biomass yield, and secretion of extracellular proteases. Most significantly, selection within the host led to decreased virulence without decreased bacterial load while the selection lines in the outside-host environment maintained the same level of virulence with ancestral bacteria. Conclusions: This experimental evidence supports the idea that increased virulence is not an inevitable consequence of within-host adaptation even when the epidemiological restrictions are removed. Evolution of attenuated virulence could occur because of immune evasion within the host. Alternatively, rapid fluctuation between outside-host and within-host environments, which is typical for the life cycle of opportunistic bacterial pathogens, could lead to trade-offs that lower pathogen virulence.