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EEB 3895 Medical Parasitology Fall 2019

Course description: Parasitic agents of human disease: protozoan, helminth, and arthropod parasites of medical importance and their basic morphology, classification, and life-cycles, and pathology; diagnosis of infection; current topics in parasitic diseases.

Format : Class periods will include a blend of lectures and group activities.

Prerequisites: Three credits of introductory biology or approval of instructor.

Recommended textbook: Foundations of Parasitology 8th (2008; Roberts & Janovy) or 9th (2012; Roberts, Janovy & Nadler) edition; McGraw Hill.

Lecture: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:05–10:20 am; Where: TLS Rm. 313


Professor: Dr. Janine N. Caira
office: TLS 483 (office hours by arrangement)
phone: 486-4060
email: Dr. Janine N. Caira

Important Documents & Activities


Pdficon small.gif Life Cycle Exercise

Course Objectives

The course is focused on the biology of the parasites responsible for human diseases. It is organized by parasite group and aims to provide:
(1) An overview of the major parasite taxa infecting humans globally.
(2) An appreciation of the diversity of life-cycles, portals of entry, sites infected, modes of reproduction these parasites employ.
(3) A basic understanding of the pathology associated with, and diagnosis of, infection with each major parasite group.

Specific Learning Outcomes

The course will provide a sound parasitological foundation for students who wish to pursue a career in a medical or related field.
(1) Know fundamental concepts of parasitology and the technical vocabulary used in the field.
(2) Identify common human parasite taxa based on morphological, biological, clinical, and geographic criteria, and the diseases they cause.
(3) Understand the human body as a home to parasites in terms of portals of entry and exit, and sites occupied by parasites.
(4) Appreciate the complexity of parasite life-cycles and transmission strategies.
(5) Hone critical thinking skills by applying fact-based knowledge of human parasites to scenarios involving infection diagnosis and prevention.


3 Lecture Exams (90 points each) 270 points
Final Comprehensive Essay Exam 100 points
In-class Participation (see * below) 30 points

(Your final grade will be calculated as a percentage of the total number of 400 points you earn)

Useful Websites

http://amsocparasit.org -The American Society of Parasitologists (general parasitology)
http://www.astmh.org -The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (medical parasitology)
http://www.dpd.cdc.gov -Center for Disease Control (CDC) resource for identification of parasitic disease agents (US government infectious diseases surveillance agency; focused on human and zoonotic parasites)
http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/en/ -World Health Organization (WHO) Programme on neglected tropical diseases (Note that 11 of the 17 targeted diseases deemed important globally are caused by parasitic organisms!)
http://www.who.int/topics/malaria/en/ -WHO Global Malaria Programme focusing on prevention, treatment, and control of this protist infection

Past Exams

Examples of previous exams will be posted here.

Study Guides

Study guides will be posted here.

Lecture Schedule

This schedule is subject to change. Check regularly for updates!

Amoeba.jpg  Hookworm.jpg Tapewormsem.png Flea.jpg Echinoccocus.jpg Nematode.jpg  Mite.jpg Fluke.jpg Trypanosomasem.jpg 
* The course will include a series of 11 in-class Activities (A1-A11 above). Your grade for class participation will come from your participation in these Activities; you must participate in a minimum of 10 to receive the full 30 points (i.e., 3 pts per Activity). Please note that the dates of these Activities may deviate somewhat from those indicated in the Syllabus. In addition, you will be eligible to earn up to 10 bonus points by participating in a "Parasites in the News" element of the course throughout the semester.
In-class Activity* Class Period Lecture Topic
M Aug 26 Introduction; General Concepts of Parasitology
A1 W Aug 28 The human body as a home to parasites; CDC & WHO
M Sept 2 Labor Day (No class)
Protozoan Diseases
W Sep 4 Introduction to zoonotic infections; Giardia: Giardiasis; Naegleria: PAM
M Sep 9 Entamoeba: Amoebiasis; Trichomoniasis
A2 W Sep 11 Trypanosoma: African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping sickness)
M Sep 16 Trypanosoma: American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas' disease)
A3 W Sep 18 Leishmania: Leishmaniasis
M Sep 23 Plasmodium: Malaria
A4 W Sep 25 Plasmodium: Malaria
M Sep 30 Exam I (Covers material up to end of Sept 25th)
A5 W Oct 2 Toxoplasma: Toxoplasmosis and related diseases
M Oct 7 Cryptosporidium: Cryptosporidiosis and related diseases
Helminth Diseases
A6 W Oct 9 Liver flukes: Fasciolosis; Clonorchiasis
M Oct 14 Lung flukes: Paragonimosis
A7 W Oct 16 Blood flukes: Schistosomiasis
M Oct 21 Blood flukes: Schistosomiasis
W Oct 23 Tapeworms: Cysticercosis; Taeniasis
A8 M Oct 28 Tapeworms: Echinococcosis; Diphyllobothriasis
W Oct 30 Exam II (Covers material from Oct 2nd through Oct 28th)
A9 M Nov 4 Nematodes: Ascariasis; Toxocarosis
W Nov 6 Nematodes: pinworms, Hookworm disease
M Nov 11 Nematodes: Filariasis; Dracunculiasis
A10(b) W Nov 13 Nematodes: Trichinosis; Trichuriasis
M Nov 18 Thanksgiving (No class)
W Nov 20 Thanksgiving (No class)
Arthropod Diseases
M Nov 25 Mites, ticks, and tick-borne diseases
A10(e) W Nov 27 Fleas and lice
M Dec 2 Human parasites and climate change
A11 W Dec 4 General considerations
Date & Time TBD Exam III (Covers Nov 4th through Dec 4th) & Final (Comprehensive Essays)