Ascaris infections in humans from North America: Molecular evidence for cross-infection

T. J.C. Anderson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    132 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Cases of human Ascaris infection occur sporadically in areas such as N. America and Western Europe, where this parasite is thought to be non-endemic. Clinical case histories suggest that many of these cases may be cross-infections from pigs. I describe patterns of variation in the ribosomal DNA of Ascaris from 9 such cases. For comparative purposes, I also describe patterns of variation in parasites obtained from pigs and humans from worldwide locations. A Hae III restriction site distinguishes two classes of rDNA repeats; repeats bearing this restriction site were found in > 96 % of parasites from pig populations worldwide and in all 9 worms from humans in N. America. In contrast, repeats bearing this restriction site were detected in < 2 % of parasites from humans in endemic areas. The molecular data clearly incriminate pigs as the source of infection in the N. American cases. I discuss evolutionary and public health implications of incomplete host fidelity in Ascaris.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)215-219
    Number of pages5
    JournalParasitology
    Volume110
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 1995

    Keywords

    • Ascaris
    • humans
    • pigs
    • ribosomal DNA

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Parasitology
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Infectious Diseases

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