Publications by authors named "Adauto Araújo"

70 Publications

Are immunoenzymatic tests for intestinal protozoans reliable when used on archaeological material?

Exp Parasitol 2019 Oct 19;205:107739. Epub 2019 Aug 19.

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca - Fundação Owaldo Cruz, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, CEP, 21041-210, Brazil; Fundação Benedito Pereira Nunes - Faculdade de Medicina de Campos, Av. Alberto Torres, 206, Centro, Campos dos Goytacazes - RJ, CEP 28035-582, Brazil.

Intestinal protozoans found in ancient human samples have been studied primarily by microscopy and immunodiagnostic assays. However, such methods are not suitable for the detection of zoonotic genotypes. The objectives of the present study were to utilize immunoenzimatic assays for coproantigen detection of Cryptosporidium sp., Giardia duodenalis, and Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar in sixty ancient human and animal samples collected from 14 archaeological sites in South America, and to carry out a critical analysis of G. duodenalis according to results obtained from three diagnostic methodologies: microscopy, immunodiagnostic tests (immunoenzymatic and immunofluorescence), and molecular biology (PCR and sequencing). More than half (31/60) of the samples analyzed using immunoenzymatic tests were positive for at least one of the intestinal protozoans, with 46.6% (28/60) corresponding to G. duodenalis, 26.6% (16/60) to Cryptosporidium sp., and 5% (3/60) to E. histolytica/E. dispar. Cryptosporidium sp. and G. duodenalis coinfection was observed in 15% (9/60) of the samples, whereas all three protozoans were found in 5% (3/60) of samples. In the Northeast Region of Brazil, by immunoenzymatic tests there is evidence that G. duodenlais and Cryptosporidium sp. have infected humans and rodents for at least 7150 years. However, for G. duodenalis, the results from the three diagnostic tests were discordant. Specifically, despite the efficiency of the molecular biology assay in the experimental models, G. duodenalis DNA could not be amplified from the ancient samples. These results raise the following question: Are all ancient samples positive for coproantigen of G. duodenalis by immunoenzymatic tests truly positive? This scenario highlights the importance of further studies to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the immunoenzymatic method in the archaeological context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exppara.2019.107739DOI Listing
October 2019

Recovering parasites from mummies and coprolites: an epidemiological approach.

Parasit Vectors 2018 04 16;11(1):248. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

Pathoecology Laboratory, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, 68583-0987, USA.

In the field of archaeological parasitology, researchers have long documented the distribution of parasites in archaeological time and space through the analysis of coprolites and human remains. This area of research defined the origin and migration of parasites through presence/absence studies. By the end of the 20th century, the field of pathoecology had emerged as researchers developed an interest in the ancient ecology of parasite transmission. Supporting studies were conducted to establish the relationships between parasites and humans, including cultural, subsistence, and ecological reconstructions. Parasite prevalence data were collected to infer the impact of parasitism on human health. In the last few decades, a paleoepidemiological approach has emerged with a focus on applying statistical techniques for quantification. The application of egg per gram (EPG) quantification methods provide data about parasites' prevalence in ancient populations and also identify the pathological potential that parasitism presented in different time periods and geographic places. Herein, we compare the methods used in several laboratories for reporting parasite prevalence and EPG quantification. We present newer quantification methods to explore patterns of parasite overdispersion among ancient people. These new methods will be able to produce more realistic measures of parasite infections among people of the past. These measures allow researchers to compare epidemiological patterns in both ancient and modern populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-2729-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902992PMC
April 2018

Paleoparasitological analysis of the extinct Myotragus balearicus Bate 1909 (Artiodactyla, Caprinae) from Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean).

Parasitol Int 2017 Apr 18;66(2):7-11. Epub 2016 Nov 18.

Laboratório de Paleoparasitologia, Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa/Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca/Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (DENSP/ENSP/FIOCRUZ), Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21041-210, Brazil.

Myotragus balearicus (Artiodactyla, Caprinae) is an extinct caprine endemic of the Eastern Balearic Islands or Gymnesics (i.e., Mallorca, Menorca and surrounding islets, Western Mediterranean Sea). In spite of its small size, c. 50cm height at the shoulder, it was the largest mammal inhabiting these islands until the human arrival, and it had peculiar short legs and frontal vision. It disappeared between 2830 and 2210calBCE. The coprolites here studied were recovered from Cova Estreta, in Pollença, Mallorca. The samples were subjected to microscopic examination and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for E. histolytica/E. dispar, Giardia intestinalis and Cryptosporidium parvum. This study provides new paleoparasitological data from an extinct animal species of the Holocene period. The microscopy revealed one sample containing uninucleated-cyst of Entamoeba sp., whereas ELISA detected nine positive samples for Cryptosporidium sp. The finding of these protozoans can help in the discussion of its extinction cause and demonstrates the antiquity and the evolutionary history of host-parasite relationships between protozoa and caprines since the Messinian.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2016.11.009DOI Listing
April 2017

Temporal and Spatial Distribution of (Nematoda: Oxyuridae) in the Prehistoric Americas.

Korean J Parasitol 2016 Oct 31;54(5):591-603. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Pathoecology Laboratory, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68583-0962, USA.

Investigations of sp. infection in prehistory have produced a body of data that can be used to evaluate the geographic distribution of infection through time in the Americas. Regional variations in prevalence are evident. In North America, 119 pinworm positive samples were found in 1,112 samples from 28 sites with a prevalence of 10.7%. Almost all of the positive samples came from agricultural sites. From Brazil, 0 pinworm positive samples were found in 325 samples from 7 sites. For the Andes region, 22 pinworm positive samples were found in 411 samples from 26 sites for a prevalence of 5.3%. Detailed analyses of these data defined several trends. First, preagricultural sites less frequently show evidence of infection compared to agricultural populations. This is especially clear in the data from North America, but is also evident in the data from South America. Second, there is an apparent relationship between the commonality of pinworms in coprolites and the manner of constructing villages. These analyses show that ancient parasitism has substantial value in documenting the range of human behaviors that influence parasitic infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3347/kjp.2016.54.5.591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5127543PMC
October 2016

Prehistoric Pathoecology as Represented by Parasites of a Mummy from the Peruaçu Valley, Brazil.

Korean J Parasitol 2016 Oct 31;54(5):585-590. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Escola Nacional de Saude Publica, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Paleopathologists have begun exploring the pathoecology of parasitic diseases in relation to diet and environment. We are summarizing the parasitological findings from a mummy in the site of Lapa do Boquete, a Brazilian cave in the state of Minas Gerais. These findings in context of the archaeology of the site provided insights into the pathoecology of disease transmission in cave and rockshelter environments. We are presenting a description of the site followed by the evidence of hookworm, intestinal fluke, and infection with resulting Chagas disease in the mummy discovered in the cave. These findings are used to reconstruct the transmission ecology of the site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3347/kjp.2016.54.5.585DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5127542PMC
October 2016

Past Intestinal Parasites.

Microbiol Spectr 2016 08;4(4)

†deceased.

This chapter aims to provide some key points for researchers interested in the study of ancient gastrointestinal parasites. These few pages are dedicated to my colleague and friend, Prof. Adauto Araújo (1951-2015), who participated in the writing of this chapter. His huge efforts in paleoparasitology contributed to the development and promotion of the discipline during more than 30 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0013-2015DOI Listing
August 2016

Recovery of Toxoplasma gondii DNA in experimentally mummified skin and bones: Prospects for paleoparasitological studies to unveil the origin of toxoplasmosis.

Exp Parasitol 2016 Sep 10;168:51-5. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

Laboratory of Paleoparasitology, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.

Paleoparasitology studies parasite infections by finding the parasites' remains in preserved organic remains such as natural or artificial mummy tissues, skeletons, teeth, and coprolites, among others. However, some currently important infections like toxoplasmosis have not been studied by paleoparasitology. The reasons include this parasite's complex life cycle, the resulting difficulties in locating this protozoan in the intermediate host tissues, and the limitation of coprolite studies to felines, the protozoan's definitive host. The current study thus aimed to produce an experimental model for molecular diagnosis of toxoplasmosis, prioritizing its study in bones and skin, the most abundant materials in archeological collections and sites. The study demonstrated the feasibility of recovering Toxoplasma gondii DNA from desiccated material, including bones and skin, in experimental models both with circulating tachyzoites (RH strain), characteristic of acute infection, and with cysts (ME49 cystogenic strain), characteristic of chronic infection. At present, most individuals with T. gondii infection are in the chronic phase, and the same was probably true in the past. The current study thus expands the odds of finding the parasite in archeological material, enhanced by the nature of the material in which the diagnosis was made. Finding the parasite may help answer questions that are widely debated in the literature on this protozoan's origin (Old World versus New World). In addition, when conditions do not allow ideal storage of samples for molecular tests, the methodology creates the possibility of testing oven-dried samples transported at room temperature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exppara.2016.06.003DOI Listing
September 2016

THE PROCESS OF Leishmania INFECTION - DISEASE AND NEW PERSPECTIVES OF PALEOPARASITOLOGY.

Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 2016 24;58:45. Epub 2016 May 24.

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil,

Species of the genus Leishmania (Kinetoplastida, Trypanosomatidae) are causative agents of leishmaniasis, a complex disease with variable clinical spectrum and epidemiological diversity, constituting, in some countries, a serious public health problem. The origin and evolution of leishmaniasis has been under discussion regarding some clinical and parasitological aspects. After the introduction of paleoparasitology, molecular methods and immunodiagnostic techniques have been applied allowing the recovery of parasite remains, as well as the diagnosis of past infections in humans and other hosts. The dating of archaeological samples has allowed the parasitological analysis in time and space. This manuscript presents the state of the art of leishmaniasis and prospects related to paleoparasitology studies and their contribution to the evolutionary and phylogenetic clarification of parasites belonging to the genus Leishmania, and the leishmaniasis caused by them.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-9946201658045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880002PMC
August 2016

Evidence of Helminth Infection in Guanche Mummies: Integrating Paleoparasitological and Paleogenetic Investigations.

J Parasitol 2016 Apr 7;102(2):222-8. Epub 2015 Dec 7.

LABTRIP, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Pavilhão Rocha Lima, Sala 518, Av. Brasil 4365, Rio de Janeiro, 21045-900, RJ, Brazil.

The Guanches, ancient inhabitants of the Canary Islands, Spain, practiced mummification of their dead. A paleoparasitological and paleogenetic analysis was conducted on mummified bodies (n = 6) (AD 1200, Cal BP 750) belonging to the Guanche culture from Gran Canaria Island. Coprolite and sediment samples (n = 19) were removed from below the abdominal region or sacral foramina. The samples were rehydrated in 0.5% trisodium phosphate solution for 72 hr at 4 C, and the paleoparasitological investigation was conducted by spontaneous sedimentation method and microscopic examination. The results revealed the presence of well-preserved eggs of Ascaris sp., Trichuris trichiura , Enterobius vermicularis , and hookworms. Ancient DNA was extracted from sediment samples to elucidate the ancestry of the mummies and for molecular detection of Ascaris sp. infection. Results of paleogenetic analysis demonstrated Ascaris sp. infection using 2 molecular targets, cytb and nad1. The mtDNA haplotypes U6b, U6b1, and HV were identified, which confirmed records of Guanche ancestry. The excellent preservation of Guanche mummies facilitated the paleoparasitological and paleogenetic study, the results of which contribute to our knowledge of Guanche culture and their health status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1645/15-866DOI Listing
April 2016

Palaeoparasitology - Human Parasites in Ancient Material.

Adv Parasitol 2015 17;90:349-87. Epub 2015 Apr 17.

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Laboratório de Paleoparasitologia, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.

Parasite finds in ancient material launched a new field of science: palaeoparasitology. Ever since the pioneering studies, parasites were identified in archaeological and palaeontological remains, some preserved for millions of years by fossilization. However, the palaeoparasitological record consists mainly of parasites found specifically in human archaeological material, preserved in ancient occupation sites, from prehistory until closer to 2015. The results include some helminth intestinal parasites still commonly found in 2015, such as Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworms, besides others such as Amoebidae and Giardia intestinalis, as well as viruses, bacteria, fungi and arthropods. These parasites as a whole provide important data on health, diet, climate and living conditions among ancient populations. This chapter describes the principal findings and their importance for knowledge on the origin and dispersal of infectious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.apar.2015.03.003DOI Listing
April 2016

The identification of malaria in paleopathology-An in-depth assessment of the strategies to detect malaria in ancient remains.

Acta Trop 2015 Dec 11;152:176-180. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

Institute of Pathology, Klinikum München-Bogenhausen, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:

The comprehensive analyses of human remains from various places and time periods, either by immunological or molecular approaches, provide circumstantial evidence that malaria tropica haunted humankind at least since dynastic ancient Egypt. Here we summarize the "actual state-of-the-art" of these bio-molecular investigations and offer a solid basis for the discussion of the paleopathology of malaria in human history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.09.002DOI Listing
December 2015

Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus Eggs in Canine Coprolite from the Sasanian Era in Iran (4(th)/5(th) Century CE).

Iran J Parasitol 2015 Apr-Jun;10(2):245-9

Center for Research of Endemic Parasites of Iran (CREPI), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran ; Dept. of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Present paper is the second publication introducing the paleoparasitological findings from animal coprolites obtained from archeological site of Chehrabad salt mine in northwestern Iran. The current archeological site is located in northwest of Iran, dated to the Sassanian Era (4(th)/5(th) century CE). In the summer 2012 the carnivore coprolite was obtained within the layers in the mine and were thoroughly analyzed for parasites using TSP rehydration technique. Eggs of 0 were successfully retrieved from the examined coprolite and were confidently identified based on reliable references. Identifying of M. hirudinaceus eggs in paleofeces with clear appearance as demonstrated herein, is much due to appropriate preservation condition has been existed in the salt mine .The present finding could be regarded as the oldest acanthocephalan infection in Iran.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4522300PMC
August 2015

It is needless to rehydrate archeological samples to extract ancient DNA.

Parasitol Int 2015 Oct 9;64(5):303-4. Epub 2015 Apr 9.

Universidade Federal Fluminense, Instituto Biomédico, Departamento de Microbiologia e Parasitologia, Laboratório de Biologia Molecular de Parasitos, Rua Professor Hernani Melo, 101, São Domingos, CEP 24.210-130 Niterói, RJ, Brazil. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2015.03.006DOI Listing
October 2015

Paleoparasitological Findings from Rodent Coprolites Dated At 500 CE Sassanid Era in Archeological Site of Chehrabad(Douzlakh), Salt Mine Northwestern Iran.

Iran J Parasitol 2014 Apr-Jun;9(2):188-93

Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Tehran university,Tehran Iran.

Background: In this paper, paleoparasitological findings from rodent excrements obtained from Chehrabad Salt Mine archeological site located in northwest of Iran are demonstrated and discussed.

Methods: Chehrabad Salt Mine archeological site located in northwest of Iran, dated to the Achaemenid (mid 1(st) mill. BCE) and to Sassanid (3(rd) cent. - 7(th) cent. CE) period, is a unique study area to investigate parasites in the past millenniums in Iran. Rodent coprolites obtained from this archeological site were thoroughly analyzed for parasite eggs using TSP re-hydration technique.

Results: Specimen analyzed were attributed to juvenile and adult rats based on their apparent morphology comparing with the modern dried pellets of Muridea family. Helminth eggs retrieved from two positive pellets were identified as Trichosomoides crassicauda, yphacia sp. and Trichuris sp.

Conclusion: The present paper discusses the first paleoparasitological findings of rodent gastrointestinal helminthes in Iran along with possible favorite items to rats in ancient Chehrabad Salt Mine.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4386038PMC
April 2015

Trichuris trichiura in a post-Colonial Brazilian mummy.

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2015 Feb 23;110(1):145-7. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

Trichuris trichiura is a soil-transmitted helminth which is prevalent in warm, moist, tropical and subtropical regions of the world with poor sanitation. Heavy whipworm can result either in Trichuris dysenteric syndrome - especially in children - or in a chronic colitis. In heavy infections, worms can spread proximally and may cause ileitis. Here we provide first microscopic evidence for a T. trichiura adult worm embedded in the rectum of a post-Colonial Brazilian adult mummy. During Colonial and post-Colonial times, many European chroniclers described a parasitic disease named Maculo whose symptomatology coincides with heavy helminthiasis. Based on our findings and on comparison of ancient textual evidence with modern description of heavy whipworm, we feel confident in considering that the two syndromes are expressions of the same pathological condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0074-02760140367DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371230PMC
February 2015

Leishmania tarentolae molecular signatures in a 300 hundred-years-old human Brazilian mummy.

Parasit Vectors 2015 Feb 4;8:72. Epub 2015 Feb 4.

Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480, Térreo, Manguinhos, 21041-210, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Background: L. tarentolae, the lizard-infecting species of Old World geckos, has been classified as non-pathogenic to man. While it has been demonstrated that L. tarentolae is capable of infecting human phagocytic cells and to differentiate into amastigote-like forms, there is no clear evidence for its efficient replication within macrophages. Here we provide first evidence for L. tarentolae ancient DNA sequences from bone marrow and intestines of a 300yo adult male.

Methods: We identified molecular signatures of Leishmania tarentolae, the lizard-infecting species of Old World geckos, in hard and soft tissue biopsies from a Brazilian mummy (A74) uncovered in Itacambira (Brazil) and dating to the Colonial Period (end of 18th/beginning of the 19th century).

Results: Our results imply that efficient replication of the parasite occurred within human macrophage and to lead to a systemic spread and visceralization in this individual. The ancient sequences show a 100% similarity with those of isolated L. tarentolae parasites grown on artificial nutrient media and a 99% similarity with two modern sequences isolated from reptiles.

Conclusions: De facto, our findings re-open the debate about the potential survival of ancient L. tarentolae strain within human macrophage and its ability to spread systemically. They also raise ecological issues since it is unknown whether this parasite circulates in the reptilian reservoir in modern day Brazil or not. Investigations on fossil fauna and arthropods are needed to shed light on the interactions between saurian Leishmania and lizards in Brazil's remote and recent past.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-015-0666-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4328655PMC
February 2015

Discovery of a 240 million year old nematode parasite egg in a cynodont coprolite sheds light on the early origin of pinworms in vertebrates.

Parasit Vectors 2014 Nov 13;7:486. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

Harold W Manter Laboratory of Parasitology, University of Nebraska State Museum and School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, W529 Nebraska Hall, Lincoln 685880514, NB, USA.

Background: We report the discovery of a nematode parasite egg (Nemata: Oxyurida) from a coprolite closely associated with the remains of several species of Cynodontia, dated to 240 million years old. This finding is particularly significant because this is the oldest record of an oxyurid nematode yet discovered, and because the cynodonts are considered a stem-group of the mammals.

Methods: We extracted material from a fully mineralized coprolite by both scraping the surface, and removing fragments from its interior with clean dental instruments used a single time. A single drop of glycerol from a new vial was added as a clearing reagent. Each slide was sealed with wax and examined with an optical microscope at 100× to 400× magnification.

Results: From one coprolite, 550 slides were examined; from 275 of these slides, sediment was examined that was scraped from the surface of the coprolite, and from the other 275 slides, material was examined that was extracted from the interior of the coprolite. All microscopic structures encountered were photographed, measured, and identified when possible.

Conclusions: From the coprolite examined, we discovered an egg representing a new species of pinworm that, based on the egg structure, clearly places it in the family Heteroxynematidae. Nematodes of the order Oxyurida have very constrained life-histories, occurring only in animals that are not strictly carnivorous and also ingest large amounts of plant material. This fact enabled us to determine which species of cynodont, from several collected at the site in Brazil, are most likely the depositors of the coprolite, and therefore were the putative host of the parasite.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-014-0486-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4236488PMC
November 2014

Taphonomic considerations of a whipworm infection in a mummy from the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Int J Paleopathol 2014 Dec 31;7:83-87. Epub 2014 Aug 31.

Pathoecology Laboratory, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 3310 Holdrege Street, Lincoln, NE 68583-0962, United States. Electronic address:

In the present study, the abdominal contents of 10 mummies from beneath the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania, were examined for the presence of helminth parasites using standard archaeoparasitological techniques. Of the mummies examined, only one individual presented with evidence of parasitism. This individual was infected with both Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides (5,222 parasite eggs/gram). The conditions of many of the T. trichiura eggs suggest that a fortuitously embedded female whipworm decomposed within the individual's gut to release the eggs, as opposed to the eggs actually being passed by the adult helminth. This study highlights a taphonomic issue unique to mummies by demonstrating the differential preservation of parasite eggs existing in various stages of development. Whenever one is not dealing with parasite eggs that have already been passed by the host, as is the case when analyzing intestinal tissues, one must understand that some types of parasite eggs may not be fully formed. It is imperative, as demonstrated by our findings, that researchers have the knowledge to recognize under-developed intestinal helminth eggs in addition to fully formed intestinal helminth eggs from mummy source materials. Together, these findings demonstrate the persistence of these helminth parasites in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries and represent the first archaeoparasitological evidence from mummies in Vilnius, Lithuania.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.08.001DOI Listing
December 2014

Helminths in feline coprolites up to 9000 years in the Brazilian Northeast.

Parasitol Int 2014 Dec 11;63(6):851-7. Epub 2014 Aug 11.

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, 21041-210 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. Electronic address:

The identification of parasites in animal coprolites has been an important tool to promote knowledge about parasites infecting different zoological groups in the past. It also helps the understanding of parasites causing zoonoses, which is especially important for animals that were part of the diet of prehistoric human groups. Nevertheless, the study of feline coprolites is still scarce. This study analyzed 30 feline coprolites from southeastern Piauí taken from archeological sites used by human groups in the past. Eggs of Spirometra sp., Toxocara cati, Spirurida, Oxyuroidea Calodium cf. hepaticum, Trichuris cf. muris, Trichuris sp., and other Trichuridae, Oncicola sp., and nematode larvae were found. Some of these findings reflect the consumption of infected prey. The role of felines in the transmission of helminthes causing zoonoses in the region is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2014.08.002DOI Listing
December 2014

Paleoparasitological studies on mummies of the Joseon Dynasty, Korea.

Korean J Parasitol 2014 Jun 26;52(3):235-42. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Institute of Forensic Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, Korea.

Paleoparasitology is the application of conventional or molecular investigative techniques to archeological samples in order to reveal parasitic infection patterns among past populations. Although pioneering studies already have reported key paleoparasitological findings around the world, the same sorts of studies had not, until very recently, been conducted in sufficient numbers in Korea. Mummified remains of individuals dating to the Korean Joseon Dynasty actually have proved very meaningful to concerned researchers, owing particularly to their superb preservation status, which makes them ideal subjects for paleoparasitological studies. Over the past several years, our study series on Korean mummies has yielded very pertinent data on parasitic infection patterns prevailing among certain Joseon Dynasty populations. In this short review, we summarized the findings and achievements of our recent paleoparasitological examinations of Joseon mummies and discussed about the prospects for future research in this vein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3347/kjp.2014.52.3.235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4096633PMC
June 2014

Insights about echinostomiasis by paleomolecular diagnosis.

Parasitol Int 2014 Aug 26;63(4):646-9. Epub 2014 Apr 26.

Laboratório de Paleoparasitologia, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, CEP 21.041-210, Brazil.

Echinostomiasis is a zoonosis caused by intestinal trematodes and transmitted by the ingestion of mollusks, crustaceans, fish, amphibians, and reptiles, either raw or poorly cooked. Today human infection is endemic in Southeast Asia and the Far East, but has been reported more recently in other regions of the world. Interestingly eggs identified as Echinostoma sp. were found in coprolites from a mummified body human in Brazil, dated 560 ± 40 BP (before present). However, the specific diagnosis based on morphology of the eggs has not been resolved at the species level. As a follow-up to the previous finding, the current study now aims to standardize the methodology for molecular diagnosis and apply it to the coprolite, using current Echinostoma paraensei-positive feces as the reference, and also the same fecal material dried in a stove as an experimental coprolite model. Isolated eggs of E. paraensei and adult worm were included to verify the sensibility and as positive control, respectively. An adult worm of E. luisreyi was used for comparison. PCR using primers in-house for ITS1 region (126 bp) and cox1 (123 bp) of Echinostoma spp. and subsequent nucleotide sequencing were performed. This is the first molecular paleoparasitological diagnosis for echinostomiasis. The methodology was able to amplify specific DNA fragments for the genus Echinostoma sp. in all samples: adult worm, feces, and a single egg of the parasite, in both the experimental coprolite and archaeological sample. Additionally we observed that ancient DNA can also be retrieved without rehydrating the material. The nucleotide sequences from E. paraensei and E. luisreyi are very similar in the fragment analyzed that difficult the differentiation these species, but DNA sequence analysis recovered in the parasite found in the mummy showed more similarity with the species E. paraensei.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2014.04.005DOI Listing
August 2014

Prehistorical Pediculus humanus capitis infestation: quantitative data and low vacuum scanning microscopy.

Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 2014 Mar-Apr;56(2):115-9

Laboratório de Paleoparasitologia, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, 21041-210Rio de JaneiroRJ, Brazil, Laboratório de Paleoparasitologia, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, R. Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, Manguinhos, 21041-210 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. Tel.: +55 (21) 2598-2566.

A pre-Columbian Peruvian scalp was examined decades ago by a researcher from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. Professor Olympio da Fonseca Filho described nits and adult lice attached to hair shafts and commented about the origin of head lice infestations on mankind. This same scalp was sent to our laboratory and is the subject of the present paper. Analysis showed a massive infestation with nine eggs/cm2 and an impressive number of very well preserved adult lice. The infestation age was roughly estimated as nine months before death based on the distance of nits from the hair root and the medium rate of hair growth. A small traditional textile was associated with the scalp, possibly part of the funerary belongings. Other morphological aspects visualized by low-vacuum scanning electron microscopy are also presented here for adults and nits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-46652014000200005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4085847PMC
May 2014

A new ascarid species in cynodont coprolite dated of 240 million years.

An Acad Bras Cienc 2014 03;86(1):265-9

Cynodonts represent the transition from reptiles to mammals. They are classified as synapsids, or tetrapod animals with mammalian characteristics. We present here the finding of helminth eggs in a coprolite identified as of cynodont origin dated of nearly 240 million years. Microscopy revealed the presence of very well preserved intestinal parasite eggs. Up to now we identified an ascarid egg by morphological characteristics. Based on a previous description of the new genus Ascarites Poinar Jr and Boucot 2006 in coprolites of iguanodons from Belgium, we propose a new species, Ascarites rufferi n.sp. in cynodonts, a host that inhabited the Southern Region of Brazil in the Triassic period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765201320130036DOI Listing
March 2014

On head lice and social interaction in archaic Andean coastal populations.

Int J Paleopathol 2013 Dec 8;3(4):257-268. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, NY, United States.

Archaic mummies from northern Chile were examined for the presence of Pediculus humanus capitis. The excellent preservation of mummies and louse nits/eggs permitted a study of the degree of head lice infestation. We studied 63 Chinchorro mummies (ca. 5000-3000 years B.P.) from the Arica-Camarones coast. An area of 2cm×2cm on each mummy's head was systematically inspected for louse nits/eggs. Hairs with nits/eggs and lice were collected and analyzed using optic and scanning electronic microscopy. About 79% (50/63) of the mummies resulted positive for pediculosis, with an average of 2.1nits/eggs/cm per positive individual. Microscopic analyses revealed the micromorphology of all developmental stages, including eggs/nits, nymphal instars and adults. Chinchorro people lived in small huts increasing the transmission of ectoparasites. Considering that head lice thrive in crowded conditions, their prevalence could be used as an bioindicator to assess and debate cultural behavior (e.g., degree of crowdedness and sedentism) and to study paleoepidemiology in prehistoric populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.10.001DOI Listing
December 2013

Paleoparasitology: the origin of human parasites.

Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2013 Sep;71(9B):722-6

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de JaneiroRJ, Brasil.

Parasitism is composed by three subsystems: the parasite, the host, and the environment. There are no organisms that cannot be parasitized. The relationship between a parasite and its host species most of the time do not result in damage or disease to the host. However, in a parasitic disease the presence of a given parasite is always necessary, at least in a given moment of the infection. Some parasite species that infect humans were inherited from pre-hominids, and were shared with other phylogenetically close host species, but other parasite species were acquired from the environment as humans evolved. Human migration spread inherited parasites throughout the globe. To recover and trace the origin and evolution of infectious diseases, paleoparasitology was created. Paleoparasitology is the study of parasites in ancient material, which provided new information on the evolution, paleoepidemiology, ecology and phylogenetics of infectious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0004-282X20130159DOI Listing
September 2013

Lutz's spontaneous sedimentation technique and the paleoparasitological analysis of sambaqui (shell mound) sediments.

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2013 Apr;108(2):155-9

Laboratório de Paleoparasitologia, Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

Parasite findings in sambaquis (shell mounds) are scarce. Although the 121 shell mound samples were previously analysed in our laboratory, we only recently obtained the first positive results. In the sambaqui of Guapi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, paleoparasitological analysis was performed on sediment samples collected from various archaeological layers, including the superficial layer as a control. Eggs of Acanthocephala, Ascaridoidea and Heterakoidea were found in the archaeological layers. We applied various techniques and concluded that Lutz's spontaneous sedimentation technique is effective for concentrating parasite eggs in sambaqui soil for microscopic analysis.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970669PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0074-0276108022013005DOI Listing
April 2013

[Bacteria or parasite?bacteria is also a parasite].

Hist Cienc Saude Manguinhos 2013 Mar;20(1):351-2

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fiocruz.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s0104-59702013000100022DOI Listing
March 2013

Studies on protozoa in ancient remains--a review.

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2013 Feb;108(1):1-12

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

Paleoparasitological research has made important contributions to the understanding of parasite evolution and ecology. Although parasitic protozoa exhibit a worldwide distribution, recovering these organisms from an archaeological context is still exceptional and relies on the availability and distribution of evidence, the ecology of infectious diseases and adequate detection techniques. Here, we present a review of the findings related to protozoa in ancient remains, with an emphasis on their geographical distribution in the past and the methodologies used for their retrieval. The development of more sensitive detection methods has increased the number of identified parasitic species, promising interesting insights from research in the future.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3974329PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s0074-02762013000100001DOI Listing
February 2013

Eating lizards: a millenary habit evidenced by Paleoparasitology.

BMC Res Notes 2012 Oct 25;5:586. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, CEP 21040-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

Background: Analyses of coprolites have contributed to the knowledge of diet as well as infectious diseases in ancient populations. Results of paleoparasitological studies showed that prehistoric groups were exposed to spurious and zoonotic parasites, especially food-related. Here we report the findings of a paleoparasitological study carried out in remote regions of Brazil's Northeast.

Findings: Eggs of Pharyngodonidae (Nematoda, Oxyuroidea), a family of parasites of lizards and amphibians, were found in four human coprolites collected from three archaeological sites. In one of these, lizard scales were also found.

Conclusions: Through the finding of eggs of Pharyngodonidae in human coprolites and reptilescales in one of these, we have provided evidence that humans have consumed reptiles at least 10,000 years ago. This food habit persists to modern times in remote regions of Brazil's Northeast. Although Pharyngodonidae species are not known to infect humans, the consumption of raw or undercooked meat from lizards and other reptiles may have led to transmission of a wide range of zoonotic agents to humans in the past.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-5-586DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3504575PMC
October 2012

Genetic characterisation and molecular epidemiology of Ascaris spp. from humans and pigs in Brazil.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2012 Oct 31;106(10):604-12. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Laboratório de Genética Molecular de Microorganismos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The molecular epidemiology of Ascaris spp. of human and pig origin has been studied as a means to assess the potential of pigs as reservoirs for human ascariasis. In this study, human (H) and pig (P) Ascaris spp. haplotypes from two Brazilian regions were characterised based on two mitochondrial genes, nad1 and cox1. The results show six haplotypes of the cox1 gene, with two haplotypes (H9P9 and P3) corresponding to haplotypes previously characterised in China. Because P3 was found in humans in this study, it was designated as H14P3. Furthermore, five new Ascaris spp. nad1 haplotypes from humans (H12-H16) and five from pigs (P16-P20) were observed, with one being highly frequent and present in both hosts, here designated as H12P17. Phylogenetic and network analysis demonstrated that the molecular epidemiology of Ascaris spp. in Brazil is driven by the globally distributed haplotypes cox1 H14P3 and nad1 H12P17. In conclusion, in this study genetic characterisation of Ascaris spp. showed that humans and pigs share common haplotypes that are also present in two widely separated geographical regions of Brazil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trstmh.2012.06.009DOI Listing
October 2012