Study published on the transmission of the giant roundworm Ascaris between pigs and people

Study published on the transmission of the giant roundworm Ascaris between pigs and people

The giant roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides infects approximately 0.8 billion people worldwide, leading to chronic morbidity including intestinal problems and poor growth, particularly in children. The closely-related worm Ascaris suum infects pigs across the globe, causing production losses for pig farmers. Human and pig roundworms look very similar, so it is unclear whether they are actually the same or two separate species.

In a study published online in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers from the RVC, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Copenhagen and the Royal Cornwall Hospital investigated the transmission of giant roundworms between pigs and people. Over 500 roundworms were obtained from people and pigs on four continents and variations in the worm DNA were investigated.

Marked differences between worms originating from people and pigs were found, supporting the existence of two separate Ascaris species. Roundworm infections in people in the UK appeared to be of pig origin and there was also transmission between people and pigs in Uganda. In addition, genetic differences between worm populations from different countries, villages and individuals, were observed consistent with very local spread of infection. The results provide new insights into the spread of giant roundworm infections. Control programmes for human should take into account the potential for transmission from pigs, particularly in areas where households keep or where pig manure (which may contain roundworm eggs) is used as fertiliser.

More information: Betson, M; Nejsum, P; Bendall, RP; Deb, RM; Stothard, JR (2014) "Molecular Epidemiology of Ascariasis: A Global Perspective on the Transmission Dynamics of Ascaris in People and Pigs." The Journal of Infectious Diseases. dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiu193

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do people and pigs share salmonella strains?

Apr 03, 2014

If antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella is showing up in pigs, then are bacon-loving people also at risk? In his latest research, NC State population health and pathobiology professor Sid Thakur looks at serotypes, ...

MRSA thrives even without antibiotics

Nov 07, 2011

The MRSA bacterium, which is resistant to antibiotics, has spread rapidly in the past few years on pig farms. Extensive use of antibiotics is thought to help it spread, but reducing the use of antibiotics is not enough to ...

Recommended for you

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

15 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

22 hours ago

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

23 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.