Population biology of filarial nematodes of the genus Onchocerca
The filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus causes human onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness. Most species of Onchocerca, however, are parasites of ungulates. One of them, O. ochengi, is a parasite of cattle that has been estimated to be evolutionarily separated from O. volvulus by as little as 10 000 years. Like O. volvulus, O. ochengi females induce nodules in the skin of the host and the two species share the black fly Simulium damnosusm as vector. O. ochengi in cattle is therefore an attractive animal model to study various aspects of the biology of O. volvulus. Zoonotic cases in humans with various, normally animal parasitic, Onchocerca spp. do occur sparadically. We participate, mainly as the molecular arm, in projects to investigate the population biology and taxonomy of Onchocerca sp. in close collaboration with the group of Alfons Renz from the University of Tübingen and the Programme Onchocercoses in Ngoundéré, Cameroon (see (Hildebrandt et al. 2012/2014; Eisenbarth et al. 2014; Jaleta et al. 2018) and with the group of Atiporn Saeung from the Chiang Mai University in Thailand (see Aupalee et al. 2020b; Hunang et al. (2021).
People involved in this project:
- Julia Hildebrandt
- Tegegn Jaleta
- Kittipatt Aupalee