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Research Article Open Access

Helminth Infections of Livestock in Response to Changing Climatic Trends: A Review

Abstract

Parasitic helminthes are a major constraint worldwide and impact food security and incomes through their deleterious influences on livestock. Several pathogenic species e.g., Haemonchus contortus and Fasciola hepatica spend a large part of their complicated life-cycles as eggs, larvae etc., out on pastures and therefore, are directly affected by altered climatic conditions. Climate changes cause alteration in the dynamics of parasite transmission, spread of disease into naive populations and increasing the potential for host switching and exacerbating effect of some helminth diseases of livestock. The biological attributes of helminthes in relationship to their hosts and the environment are directly (distribution of helminthes) and indirectly (effects on hosts (range and abundance) affected by climate change/warming. Additionally, global climate change alters parasite epidemiology and, therefore, the effectiveness of current management and control strategies. Despite all the known and hypothesized postulations, the consequences of climatic changes on parasite-host interactions are difficult to forecast. The objectives of this paper are to review the impacts of climate change on parasitism and to explore how host physiology and parasite ecology can be better integrated to understand and predict the outcome of climate parasite interactions and host parasite dynamics. This review will be useful for future studies on this important interdisciplinary approach dealing with ecological aspects of helminthes as well as to those who are exploring new methods for examining the environmental quality and the interrelationship between climate alterations and the helminth parasitism.

Khurshid Ahmad Tariq

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