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TWiP 39 Letters

Rebecca writes:

Thanks for the podcast! I wanted to add a quick note about diagnosing trich: As a cytotechnologist, I diagnose trich on pap smears daily. I imagine this is how a lot of ladies find out they are infected.

Peter writes:

Greetings Dickson and Vincent,

A cool overcast 14°C on the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey as I write this.

Further to my question on a previous TWiP about whether parasites that used blood feeding vectors made the host more attractive to the vector I found this article on parasitic manipulation in vector-borne diseases

and this 2005 study which indicates that malarial parasites do manipulate their mosquito vector's biting behaviour:

The results look positive even if the number of test subjects was very small.

It was a slow day at work so I had time to spend on the internet.
A couple of other interesting items I found:

A new genus and species of leech (Tyrannobdella rex) from Perú that feeds from the mucous membranes of animals and when feeding may remain in situ for several days.

Blood feeding by proxy - the East African jumping spider Evarcha culicivora feeds on vertebrate blood by preferentially preying on blood-fed Anopheles mosquitoes. Not a parasite, but still interesting.

I would also like to suggest a possible guest for TWiP - Dr James Logan of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Cam writes:
I'm an amateur at this, looking for some help with identification.

These are in human blood, drawn at night via pin prick to the finger, magnified about 300x. No additives or stains. Nocturnal periodicity, so not found by any more conventional method. Note the thin, translucent folds on the head shot, and "V" shaped head. I was thinking mansonella, but the egg and nocturnal periodicity are not right for mansonella. M. perstans has a ribbon-y quality at the tail, not mid-body.

Warm regards,

p.s. Also wondering what the object is at 3:00 on the tail shot.

Peter writes:

A POTENTIALLY lethal tick infection newly identified in Australia has mysteriously emerged on the NSW south coast.

Doctors have revealed the first reported Australian case of human babesiosis, a tick-borne infection that carries a 5 to 10 per cent
fatality rate, higher than the death rate from the most common tick bite infections.

The victim was a 56-year-old man from the south coast who died, it is thought, partly as a result of babesiosis. In a report published today in the Medical Journal of Australia , doctors say the infection probably contributed to his death from
multi-organ failure last April.

The report of the first babesiosis case in Australia thought to have been locally acquired had raised ''intriguing questions'' about how
the infection is spread in Australia, the lead author of the report, Sanjaya Senanayake, of the Australian National University, said.

Todd writes:

I was reading news from my childhood home, Louisiana, and saw an article about a surge of heartworm infection due to a warmer and
wetter than normal winter (more mosquitoes roughly translates to more heartworm infection). The more concerning statement though: "...even more disturbing is that some dogs, who have been on a heartworm preventative medication, are still coming down with the potentially fatal disease."

Can you offer some details and insights into what the vets are seeing?|mostview

Peter writes:

Hi TWiP Team

I was talking to someone about animal diseases and they sent me these links to some plush parasites:

Francois writes:

Hello Monsieur Despommier & signore Racaniello,

Before all, sorry for my English.

And It's now 24°C in southern France. First water restrictions of the year.

My research years were oriented toward food safety & ferments selection. A.k.a fight Listeria in food with other bacterias or cheese ecology.

During, this previous life, I've found some some pretty amazing cheese ferments.
And I'm quite sure the smell & taste of some the resulting raw milk cheeses would have killed mosquitoes & parasites alike.

I've recently listen the oldest TWIV & TWIP, with exceptional pleasure.

I would like to follow on Mr Despommier comment about the 1981 movie "Quest for fire" (TWIP 10), & his suggestion that parasites exchanges between modern & Neanderthal humans could have been deletarian for Neanderthal.

Now, with proof that those populations have reached a certain level of intimacy, at least in the case of the Denisovans. What kind of traces paleoparasitologists could find to conclude that this was indeed hapenning : traces on bones, eggs or cysts in caves soils.
Or at the, now available, genetic makers. Ex : drepanocytosis ?

There was also wooly mammoth, sabberthoot tigers & bears in the film.  Do people get parasites by eating elephants, bears or big cats meat, because it seems that the megafauna was a frequent part of the neandertal diet and vice versa ? I've also heard about tiger, bear or canid meat in today asia, & seen hippopotamus meat in Togo.

Other info, I was 7 in 1982, when I & most of my school mates saw the film. No one have been bothered by the most "X-rate" part, but we were freaked by the "eat people alive bits by bits" part. Today the film is frequently seen in school by children between 7 to 10 years old.

Best regards, & all my thanks for those amazing efforts.

PS : For Mr Despommier
La Tour vivante (The Living Tower)


Comments (1)

  1. In regards to the comments concerning how human/Neandertal contact may have affect each species, this article which appeared in Science Magazine: The Shaping of Modern Human Immune Systems by Multiregional Admixture with Archaic Humans, Vol 334 7 October 2011, suggests that humans benefitted greatly. Apparently, we picked up alleles that strengthened our immune system.

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