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The role of endemic infection in disease emergence

Somoye, Oluwaseun 2019. The role of endemic infection in disease emergence. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Human and animal populations are confronted by emerging microparasitic infections which pose a major threat to public health and the global economy. In natural conditions, emerging microparasites will encounter host populations that are already infected with common endemic macroparasites. Interspecific interactions between coinfecting parasites may alter the host immune response, the emerging parasite infection dynamics, the disease outcome and the efficacy of parasite control strategies. This thesis explores the role of macroparasites as potential suppressors or promoters of microparasite disease emergence. The potential impact endemic infections may have on disease emergence were explored experimentally using the model German cockroach host Blattella germanica, its endemic gut macroparasite Gregarina blattarum and the virulent microparasite Steinernema carpocapsae. First the effect of a hosts’ endemic parasite burden on the immune response and secondly, susceptibility to infection were investigated (Chapter 2). These experiments revealed that the host immune response was altered by the endemic parasite burden but this had no effect on susceptibility to infection with the emerging microparasite. The impact of host endemic parasite burden on the quality and quantity of the emerging parasite transmission stages was then explored. Here, coinfection resulted in a reduced output of the epidemic parasite transmission stages compared to a single infection. Further, endemic parasites had a non-linear effect on the quality of the transmission stages of the emerging microparasite measured as lipid energy reserves (Chapter 3). Finally, the fitness cost of coinfection on the between-hosts transmission of the emerging parasite was explored. Experimental findings revealed that the disease spread of the microparasite within the host population was altered by the endemic parasite (Chapter 4). The findings from this thesis demonstrate the importance of considering macro- and microparasite coinfections, and that this, in turn, is pivotal to improving control strategies and ability to accurately predict epidemic outbreaks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Biosciences
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 February 2020
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 02:25

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