Parasitology Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Parasitology?
Parasitology is the scientific study of parasites, organisms that live on or inside other organisms and cause harm to them. It is a branch of biology that deals with the diversity, life cycles, host-parasite relationships, interactions between hosts and parasites, population dynamics of parasites in natural ecosystems. Parasitology also investigates the transmission of diseases caused by these organisms and how they are transmitted to humans.Parasites can range from microscopic protozoa to large worms such as tapeworms. They can be found in all habitats on earth from soil to freshwater and saltwater systems. Parasites have adapted themselves over millions of years to survive in different environments and host species. Some are able to cause serious human diseases such as malaria, African sleeping sickness or schistosomiasis; others may cause milder illnesses or even no symptoms at all. The study of parasitology can help us understand how these organisms cause disease, which animals they live in or around, and how best to control them so that humans do not become infected with them. This knowledge helps us understand how our environment works as well as controlling disease outbreaks that can spread quickly through populations if left unchecked. Parasitisists use a variety of methods for studying parasites including microscopy (examining specimens under a microscope), culturing (growing samples in an artificial environment) and molecular techniques (studying the genetic material). In addition they also use epidemiological data (tracking rates of infection) and mathematical models (predicting future trends). By understanding more about parasitism we can develop better ways for preventing infections from occurring in people by avoiding contact with infected animals or their habitat; controlling vector-borne diseases like malaria; developing treatments for parasitic infections; improving food safety measures; increasing biosecurity measures against invasive species; monitoring environmental changes due to climate change; controlling zoonotic diseases; improving animal welfare practices related to livestock production systems etc.