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Worms and Germs - helminths as vectors of pathogens.

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Bacterial pathogens are ubiquitous in the soil – concurrently so are free-living helminths. As such, I ask ‘are bacterial pathogens associated with helminths and could they vector bacterial pathogens?’ Using model systems I show how bacteria associated with helminths are conferred survival advantages and that ingestion of ‘infected’ helminths can cause systemic bacterial infection in vertebrates. A preliminary field survey finds several bacterial pathogens within parasitic helminths of livestock. In conclusion helminths could offer a novel route of pathogen transmission, posing a livestock and human health risk.

This talk is part of the Worms and Bugs series.

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