The spreading of parasites by human migratory activities

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The global spread of parasites is unquestionably linked with human activities. Migration in all its different forms played a major role in the introduction of parasites into new areas. In ancient times, mass migrations were the main causes for the spread of parasites while in the recent past and present, emigration, immigration, displacement, external and internal migration, and labor migration were the reasons for the dispersal of parasites. With the advent of seagoing ships, long-distance trading became another important mode of spreading parasites. This review summarizes the spread of parasites using notable examples. In addition, the different hypotheses explaining the arrival of Plasmodium vivax and soil-transmitted helminths in pre-Columbian America are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1191
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online date30 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Protozoan parasites
  • arthropods
  • helminths
  • migration
  • range expansion
  • spread
  • trade

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