Improving animal and human health through understanding liver fluke immunology Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Sheep, goats and cattle represent the most numerous and economically important agricultural species worldwide used as sources for milk, fibre and red meat. In addition, in the developing world, these species often represent the sole asset base for small-holder livestock farmers and cattle/buffaloes often provide the majority of draught power for crop production. Production losses caused by helminth diseases of these animals are a major factor in extending the cycle of poverty in developing countries and a major food security issue for developed economies. Fasciola spp. are one of the most important zoonotic diseases with a global economic impact in livestock production systems and a poorly defined but direct effect on human health. Improvements in human and animal health will require a concerted research effort into the development of new accurate and simple diagnostic tests and increased vaccine and drug development against Fasciola infections. Here, the use of definitive natural host breeds with contrasting resistance to Fasciola infections is discussed as a resource to contrast parasite-host interactions and identify parasite immune evasion strategies. Such studies are likely to boost the discovery of new vaccine, drug and diagnostic candidates and provide the foundation for future genetic selection of resistant animals.

publication date

  • April 2010