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The publication is part of the World Class Parasites series published by Springer

The latest book by Bernard Fried, Kreider Professor Emeritus of Biology, will help public health professionals and researchers fight diseases caused by parasites.

The publication, Food-Borne Parasitic Zoonoses: Fish and Plant-Borne Parasites, was co-edited by K. Darwin Murrell, retired deputy administrator of the United States Agricultural Research Service, and now research scientist with the Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology in Copenhagen. Published by Springer in September, it is volume 11 of the World Class Parasites series.

The book, being the first of its kind, comprehensively examines major helminth (worm) diseases that are transmitted to humans by fish, shellfish, mollusks, and aquatic vegetation, such as watercress.

“When humans eat these food products in a raw or improperly cooked state, they may become infected with a number of different types of food-borne helminths,” explains Fried. “Many of these helminths can produce serious diseases in humans and the number of humans infected with these diseases in both underdeveloped and developed countries is increasing.”

Fried says this rise in the number of infections in developed countries is because of increasing international markets, improved transportation systems, and demographic changes.

These diseases are an important area of concern for the Neglected Tropical Disease Coalition of the World Health Organization because of their growing threat to public health and debilitating societal affects. These include their complicated links to poverty, agricultural intensification and environmental degradation, and the lack of appropriate tools to control them.

“I think this book will provide an incentive for a diverse group of scientists to pursue further research on neglected tropical diseases,” says Fried.

The book reviews not only the prevalence and distribution of these diseases, including available health and economic impact data, but also highlights gaps in the knowledge base that must be filled in order to gain insight on approaches to prevention on an international scale. Fried says the volume is ideal for parasitologists, microbiologists, immunologists, virologists, and graduate students and professionals in the fields of public health, infectious disease, food safety, and food science.

Currently, Fried is performing related research on methods for preventing trematode, or flatworm, infections in humans due to the consumption of raw or improperly cooked snails and fish. Collaborating with Fried on this research is biology major Robert Peoples ’08 (Bear, Del.).

“My current research examines ways to kill the [infectious] cysts in invertebrate hosts that may be transferred to humans who consume such tainted (infected) foods,” Fried explains. “[Peoples and I] are examining various physical and chemical factors that kill such cysts.”

Work on this topic by Fried and Peoples is scheduled to be published in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Parasitology.

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