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Soil Contamination by Parasites

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Ecological Disasters and Soil Contamination by Infective Forms of Parasites

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-OTH/Other/Biotechnology
  • AGR-VTH/Vaccines and Theraupetics/Agriculture
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
15.03.2010

Leading Institute
Armenian State Agrarian University, Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Scientific Centre of Soil Science, Agrochemistry and Melioration, Armenia, Yerevan

Collaborators

  • University of Thessaloniki / Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Greece, Thessaloniki\nUniversitat Autonoma de Barselona / Department of Animal Health and Anatomy, Spain, Barselona

Project summary

According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 16 million death cases from about 50 million cases annually are results of infectious and parasitic diseases. According to World Bank, economic damage from intestinal helminthiases, which are the most frequent parasitic diseases, is the fourth among the expenses for treatment of all the cases of diseases and traumas.

It is known that parasite eggs and oocysts enter the farm animals and people organism mainly through the soil.

Soil is the main component of any terrestrial ecosystem, and it is a place where various physical, chemical and biological processes take place. It is inhabited by numerous living organisms. Climatic conditions of each region, season, sediment level, as well as industrial and agricultural wastes have their influence on living organisms soil contains. Physical and chemical contents of the soil, as well as its sanitary condition have an action on people leaving conditions and health.

Global climatic changes, as well as soil pollution connected with industrial activity, results in changes of soil contents and quality.

Different agricultural and industrial enterprises are the main sources for soil pollution, when various chemical compounds, including organic and inorganic substances harmful for health (e.g. plumbum, hydrargirum, and arsenic) are thrown into the soil.

Soil is saturated by nutrients necessary for plants, and change physical characteristics during fertilization. At the same time wrong exploitation results in damage of soil covering, its erosion, salinization, and swamping.

Pathogenic bacteria entering the soil with wastes and nightsoil, keep their viability for a long time. For example, Shigella keeps its viability for 1 month, Salmonella typhi does 1 year, and poliomyelitis virus persists within 2 to 3 months in wastewater and soil.

The soil is contaminated by infective stages of intestinal parasites (e.g. eggs of ascarids, cysts of Giardia and Amoeba etc.) more frequently and intensively. It is an essential medium for biological cycle of geohelminthes eggs (roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, Strongyloides etc.), and place of temporal presence of some biohelminth eggs (flatworms, tapeworms etc.) and cysts of enteropathogenic Protozoa (Cryptosporidium, Isospora, Giardia, Balantidium, Entamoeba histolytica etc.). Eggs of geohelminthes keep their viability in soil for 3 to 10 years, eggs of boihelminthes – for 1 year, and cysts of pathogenic protozoa – from several days to 6 months [9].

Farm animals and people infection with enteropathogenic bacteria (Shigella, Salmonella typhi etc.) and helminthes eggs takes place both by immediate contact with the contaminated soil, and with wastes.

Pathogenic agents can also get to the hands, clothes, vegetables, fruits, berries, greens, fodders, and water, rising the risk of people and animals infection by them.

The danger of parasite eggs and cysts accumulation in soil has risen because of growth of dogs, pigs, cattle and sheep population both in cities and country-side, spreading of animal sewage in the environment, their throwing out into water-pieces, incompetent persons` dealing with animal-husbandry, and irregular and incorrect realization of veterinary measures. All of these factors promote the spreading of dangerous invasions in the republic.

Nowadays several soil-transmitted animal and human parasitic diseases have a direct danger for public health. They are as follows: animal and human ascariases, trichuriasis (whipworm disease), ancylostomiases (hookworm diseases), cysticercoses, hydatidosis, giardiasis, isosporosis, balantidiasis, cryptosporidiosis etc.

Data dedicated to soil contamination by eggs and cysts of parasites dangerous for animals and people in Armenia are absent. Nevertheless, as for our observations, soil contamination by infective forms of parasites rises abruptly, because of absence of planned antiparasitic measures and cleaning units in various regions of the republic.

The aim of the proposed project is an estimation of epidemiologic danger of soil for humans and farm animals in various geographic and climatic areas of Armenia, as well as development of new, scientifically substantiated approaches to soil sanitation.


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