Almost 400 parasitic worm species have been recorded in humans but where do they come from? Recently published in Global Change Biology (PDF available above), this article (led by Dr Konstans Wells) shows that 49% of such parasitic worms (including tapeworms, roundworms and flukes) are also found in wildlife, including a large diversity of species such as primates, rodents, deer and cattle, kangaroos, and wild carnivores. In fact, more than 500 different wildlife species have been recorded to carry the same parasitic worms than humans. Perhaps more worrying is that about 45% of the worms are also found in domestic animals such as dogs, cats, cows, pigs, black rats and brown rats.
Global Patterns of Parasite Sharing at the Human-Domestic Animal-Wildlife Interface
Global Change Biology
Game meat collected by local hunters and their dogs in Borneo (including deer and a flying fox). Through encroachment into wildlife habitat and ingestion of game meat, parasites may be more easily spread across the human-wildlife interface. Photo credit: Konstans Wells