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Review
, 15 (4), 595-612

History of Human Parasitology

Affiliations
Review

History of Human Parasitology

F E G Cox. Clin Microbiol Rev.

Erratum in

  • Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jan;16(1):174.

Abstract

Humans are hosts to nearly 300 species of parasitic worms and over 70 species of protozoa, some derived from our primate ancestors and some acquired from the animals we have domesticated or come in contact with during our relatively short history on Earth. Our knowledge of parasitic infections extends into antiquity, and descriptions of parasites and parasitic infections are found in the earliest writings and have been confirmed by the finding of parasites in archaeological material. The systematic study of parasites began with the rejection of the theory of spontaneous generation and the promulgation of the germ theory. Thereafter, the history of human parasitology proceeded along two lines, the discovery of a parasite and its subsequent association with disease and the recognition of a disease and the subsequent discovery that it was caused by a parasite. This review is concerned with the major helminth and protozoan infections of humans: ascariasis, trichinosis, strongyloidiasis, dracunculiasis, lymphatic filariasis, loasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, cestodiasis, paragonimiasis, clonorchiasis, opisthorchiasis, amoebiasis, giardiasis, African trypanosomiasis, South American trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, cyclosporiasis, and microsporidiosis.

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