Timeline of parasitology

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This is a timeline of parasitology, attempting to focus on human parasitology.

Big picture

Time period Development summary
Prehistory Since the emergence of Homo sapiens in eastern Africa, humans spread throughout the world, possibly in several waves, migrating to and inhabiting virtually the whole of the face of the Earth, bringing some parasites with them and collecting others on the way.[1] During the First Agricultural Revolution, from hunting and gathering to settled agriculture, humans acquire parasites from animals with which they come in contact during agricultural practices.[1]
Ancient history Many detailed descriptions of various diseases that might or might not be caused by parasites, specifically fevers, are found in the writings of Greek physicians between 800 to 300 BC, such as the Corpus Hippocratorum by Hippocrates, and from physicians from other civilizations including China from 3000 to 300 BC, India from 2500 to 200 BC, Rome from 700 BC to 400 AD, and the Arab Empire in the latter part of the first millennium. The descriptions of infections become more accurate and Arabic physicians, particularly Rhazes (AD 850 to 923) and Avicenna (AD 980 to 1037), write important medical works that contain a great deal of information about diseases clearly caused by parasites.[1]
Middle Ages The medical literature is very limited during this time, but there are many references to parasitic worms. In some cases, they are recognized as the possible causes of disease but in general, the writings of the period reflect the culture, beliefs, and ignorance of the time.[1]
Modern history Beginning at around 1500, The slave trade, which would flourish for three and a half centuries from about 1500, bring new parasites to the New World from the Old World.[1] The first definitive reports of lymphatic filariasis begin to appear in the 16th century.[1] In the 17th and 18th centuries, the science of helminthology develops, following the reemergence of science and scholarship during the Renaissance period.[1] By the beginning of the 17th century, it becomes apparent that there are two very different kinds of tapeworm (broad and taeniid) in humans. The scientific study of the taeniid tapeworms of humans can be traced to the late 17th century.[1] Modern parasitology develops in the 19th century with accurate observations by several researchers and clinicians.
Present time Currently, known parasites infecting humans has now increased to about 300 species.[1]

Full timeline

Year Event type Details Country/region
150,000 BP Prelude Homo sapiens emerge in eastern Africa.[1]
8,000 BC Infection American biological anthropologist Frank B. Livingstone proposes in 1958 that Plasmodium falciprum, the deadliest of 4 or 5 parasites that cause human malaria, hopped from chimps to humans about this time as human hunter-gatherers begin settling on farms.[2]
5,000 BC Infection Nematode eggs discovered recently in a frozen human body (Ötzi in Austrian Alps, date from this time.[3] Austria
3,000–400 BC Medical development The first written records of what are almost certainly parasitic infections come from this period of Egyptian medicine, particularly the Ebers papyrus of 1500 BC discovered at Thebes.[1]
2,277 BC Infection Ascaris lumbricoides eggs are found in human coprolites from Peru dating from this time.[1] Peru
2,000 BC Infection Taenia and Schistosoma ova in Egyptian mummies date from this time.[3] Egypt
1,550 BC Scientific development The Ebers papyrus in Egypt gives reference to roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), threadworms (Enterobius vermicularis), and tapeworms (Taenia saginata). These records can be confirmed by the recent discovery of calcified helminth eggs in mummies dating from 1200 BC.[1][3] Egypt
1,300 BC – 1,234 BC Biblical references to Dracunculus medinensis in the Red Sea region date from this time.[3]
700 BC – 600 BC Infection Records of Dracunculus medinensis worms from Mesopotamia date from this time.[3] Irak
430 BC Scientific development Greek physician Hippocrates describes Ascaris, Oxyuris, adult Taenia, and malaria.[1][3]
342 BC Scientific development Greek scientist Aristotle establishes a first classification system for animals in his Historia animalium and describes flat and round worms.[3] Greece
300 BC Scientific development Chinese description of threadworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and hookworm disease is recorded.[3] China
20 AD Scientific development Roman encyclopaedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus recognizes tapeworms Taenia, Tinea, Taeniola, vermes cucurbitini (tapeworm proglottids), "hailstones" (cysticersi), and roundworms, lumbrici teretes (Ascaris lumbricoides).[3]
62 AD Scientific development In their Historia naturalis, Romans Lucius Columella and Plinius secundus report on parasitic animal diseases.[3] Italy
129 AD – 199 AD Scientific development Greek–Roman scientist Claudius Galenus recognizes three types of worms: roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), threadworms (Enterobius vermicularis), tapeworms (Taenia sp.), and also cysticerci in livers of slaughtered animals.[3]
625 AD–690 AD Scientific development Byzantine Greek physician Paul of Aegina (AD 625 to 690) clearly describes Ascaris, Enterobius, and tapeworms and gives good clinical descriptions of the infections they cause.[1]
980 AD – 1037 AD Scientific development Persian scientist Avicenna, in his book Liber canonis medicinae, reports on malaria and many worms, especially on Dracunculus (which today in French is still called Fil d'Avicenne).[3][1][3] Iran
1,150 AD Medical development German nun Hildegard of Bingen publishes De causis et curis morborum, which describes plant-based methods of treating worms.[3] Germany
1498 Medical development Italian Dominican Girolamo Savonarola publishes Tractatus de vermibus, which describes the occurrence and treatment (by mercury) of worm-infected humans.[3][4] Italy
1558 Scientific development There are accounts of what are possibly cysticerci in humans by Johannes Udalric Rumler.[5] [1][6]
1674 Scientific development Georgius Hieronymus Velschius initiates the scientific study of the nematode Dracunculus and the disease it causes.[1]
1681 Scientific development Giardia duodenalis, also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia intestinalis, becomes the first parasitic protozoan of humans seen by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.[1]
1688 Scientific development Philip Hartmann conducts the first reliable accounts of cystercerci as parasites of some kind.[1]
1699 Scientific development Dutch scientist Nicolaas Hartsoeker and J. Andry from France propose that helminth infections derive from oral intake of excreted worm eggs.[3]
1707–1778 Scientific development Swedish botanist Carl von Linné describes and names six helminth worms, Ascaris lumbricoides, Ascaris vermicularis (= Enterobius vermicularis), Gordius medinensis (= Dracunculus medinensis), Fasciola hepatica, Taenia solium, and Taenia lata (= Diphyllobothrium latum).[1]
1721 Scientific development English naval surgeon, John Atkins conducts the first definitive accounts of sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis).[1]
1750 Scientific development Swiss biologist Charles Bonnet conducts the first accurate description of the proglottids.[7][8][1]
1756 Scientific development English physician Alexander Russel, in Aleppo, discovers skin leishmaniasis.[3] Syria
1766 Scientific development German clinician and natural historian Pierre Simon Pallas shows a parasitic link to the cysts.[9]
1770 Scientific development French surgeon André Mongin describes the worm loiasis (Eye Worm) passing across the eye of a woman in Santa Domingo, in the Caribbean, and recounts how he tried unsuccessfully to remove it. This is the first verified report of a subconjunctival worm.[10][1][11][12] Dominican Republic
1778 Medical development French surgeon François Guyot becomes the first to successfully remove the worm and give the name loa loa from the eye of a male slave from West Africa.[13][10]
1782 Scientific development German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goetze first describes microscopically the scolices of the larva of Echinococcus.[14]
1784 Scientific development German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze perceives the similarities between the heads of tapeworms found in human intestinal tract and the invaginated heads of Cysticercus cellulosae in pigs.[15][1]
1786 Scientific development Werner and Fischer publish treatise Vermis intestinalis brevis expositio, describing under the name finna humana, a kind of hydatid found in the interior of a muscle of a soldier who has been drowned.[16]
1786 Scientific development Echinococcus granulosus is discovered by Batsch.[14]
1790 Scientific development An understanding of the life cycle of the parasite Diphyllobothrium latum begins when Danish physician Peter Christian Abildgaard observes that the intestine of sticklebacks contains worms that resemble the tapeworms found in fish-eating birds.[1]
1793 Scientific development Treutler speaks of two kinds of hydatids found in the human body, one of which he calls taenia alba punctata, and the other taenia visceralis.[16]
1798 Scientific development Italian physician Francesco Redi publishes Osservazioni interno agli animali viventi, which describes about 108 different worms, and publishes a detailed study on Fasciola hepatica. Francesco Redi is considered the Father of Parasitology.[3] Italy
1800 Scientific development Zeder describes the echinococcus hominis, which is also observed in monkeys, and which Rudolphi places in the family of entozoa cystica.[16]
1801 Scientific development Karl Rudolphi publishes Entozoorum historia naturalis, which describes the taxonomy of all available parasites.[3] Germany
1801 Scientific development French naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck publishes his Pilosophie Zoologique, which presents the first general theory of evolution.[3] France
1806 Scientific development French physician Cullerier, senior surgeon at the civil Parisian Venereal Hospital, is the first to describe a case of hydatid cyst of the bone.[14] France
1807 Scientific development French anatomist François Chaussier reports a case of spinal hydatid disease.[17] France
1808 Scientific development Swedish naturalist Karl Asmund Rudolphi coins the term echinococcus.[14][18][19]
1818 Scientific development Cloquet writes a full description of the different varieties of hydatids, dividing each genus into several species, and minutely detailing their several peculiarities.[16]
1819 Scientific development Carl Asmund Rudolphi discovers adult female worms containing larvae of Dracunculus.
1819 Medical development The first patient treated surgically for spinal hydatidosis is reported by Reydellet.[20][21][14]
1827 Scientific development Montansey describes the brain of an idiot-epileptic woman containing a large number of cerebellar and cerebral hydatid cysts.[14]
1835 Scientific development James Paget, then a medical student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, discovers nematode parasite Trichinella spiralis in humans.[1][22][23] United Kingdom
1836 Scientific development British army officer D. Forbes, serving in India, finds and describes the larvae of Dracunculus medinensis in water.[1]
1847 Scientific development Dairo Fujii records Katayama disease –a severe dermatitis, in the Kwanami district in Japan.[1][24][25]
1848 Medical development The first English account of the removal of worms from the eye is that by William Loney.[1][26]
1849 Scientific development English chemist William Prout records the condition of chyluria in his book On the Nature and Treatment of Stomach and Renal Diseases.[27][28][1]
1850 Scientific development German physician Theodor Bilharz, in Cairo, Egypt, discovers Schistosoma haematobium.[3] Egypt
1853 Scientific development German physiologist Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold demonstrates that Echinococcus cysts from sheep give rise to adult tapeworms when fed to dogs.[1][29][30]
1855 Scientific development Rudolf Virchow first suggests the helminthic nature of alveolar hydatid disease caused by Echinococcus multilocularis.[14][31]
1855 Scientific development German physician Gottlieb Küchenmeister discovers that tapeworms develop from cysticeri after feeding convicts with cysticerci excised from pork meat, and finding adult tapeworms in the intestine after autopsy.[5][3] Germany
1859 Scientific development German zoologist Rudolf Leuckart and Rudolph Virchow independently discover the life cycle of Trichinella spiralis.[3] Germany
1859 Scientific development German cellular pathologist Rudolf Virchow writes his book Cellular Pathology, which would become the foundation for all microscopic study of disease.[32][33][1] Germany
1860 Scientific development Friedrich Zenker provides the first clear evidence of transmission of Trichinella spiralis from animal to human.[34][35][36]
1863 Scientific development French surgeon Jean Nicolas Demarquay first identifies tissue worms when studying samples of a Cuban patient affected by hydrocele.[37][38][13]
1863 Scientific development Rudolf Leuckart discovers small cyclophyllid tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis.[14][39][40]
1863 Scientific development Austrian zoologist Karl Moritz Diesing discovers parasitic tapeworms Echinococcus oligarthus.[14][41][42]
1863 Scientific development German pathologist Bernhard Naunyn finds adult tapeworms in dogs fed with hydatid cysts from a human.[1][9][43]
1863 Scientific development English scientist Thomas Spencer Cobbold suggests that snails might be the intermediate host of schistosomes.[3] United Kingdom
1866 German physician Otto Wucherer discovers microfilariae in the urine of a patient in Brazil.[44][1][45] Brazil
1867 Scientific development Rudolf Leuckart describes the life cycle of Echinococcus granulosus.[3] Germany
1868 Scientific development J. H. Oliver observes that Taenia saginata tapeworm infections occur in individuals who have eaten “measly” beef.[1]
1870 Scientific development Russian naturalist Alexei Fedchenko describes the life cycle of nematode parasite Dracunculus, including the stages in a crustacean intermediate host.[46][47][48]
1872 Scientific development British physician Timothy Lewis detects microfilaria in blood samples for the first time while working in Calcutta, India.[13]
1873 Scientific development Friedrich Lösch in Russia discovers the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica, a serious protozoan pathogen which is considered to be the third cause of parasitic death in the world.[49][50][51]
1875 James McConnell first recognizes the human liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis.[1]
1875 Scientific development Irish naval surgeon John O'Neill first observes the microfilariae of onchocerciasis when examining skin samples from patients in Ghana.[13]
1875 Scientific development Clonorchis sinensis is first discovered in the bile ducts of a Chinese man in India.[52]
1876 Scientific development Strongyloides stercoralis and the disease strongyloidiasis are both discovered by Louis Alexis Normand, a physician to the French naval hospital at Toulon.[1]
1876 Scientific development English parasitologist Joseph Bancroft observes and describes adult Wuchereria banchrofti worms.[3][1] Australia
1877 Scientific development Scottish physician Patrick Manson describes the life cycle of elephantiasis, which is caused by nematode Wuchereria bancrofti.[1][13]
1879 Scientific development B.S. Ringer discovers discovers the first case of paragonimiasis when he finds the fluke Paragonimus westermani in the lungs of a Portuguese patient while performing an autopsy in Formosa (Taiwan).[53][54][1]
1880 Scientific development Eggs in the sputum are recognized independently by Scottish physician Patrick Manson and German physician Erwin Von Baelz.[1][54][55]
1880 Scientific development French physician Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran describes malaria stages within erythrocytes.[3]
1881 Scientific development Rudolf Leuckart and A. P. Thomas independently describe the life cycle of Fasciola hepatica.[3] Germany, United Kingdom
1883 Scientific development Rudolf Leuckart discovers the alternation of generations involving parasitic and free-living phases.[1] Germany
1885 Scientific development Greek physician Stephanos Kartulis finds amoebae in intestinal ulcers in patients suffering from dysentery in Egypt.[56][57][58]
1889 Medical development Irish surgeon Henry Widenham Maunsell operates successfully on a case of probable subtentorial hydatid cyst in an 18-year-old boy in New Zealand.[14] New Zealand
1890 Scientific development British ophtalmologist Stephen McKenzie identifies microfilaria in cases of loiasis.[13][1]
1890 Medical development Australians Graham and Clubb are the first to report the successful removal of an undoubted hydatid cyst of the brain.[14]
1891 Scientific development William Thomas Councilman and Henri Lafleur, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, establish a definitive statement of what is known about the pathology of amoebiasis, much of which is still valid today.[1]
1891 Scientific development Trypanosomes are seen in human blood by French physician Gustave Nepveu.[1]
1892 Konstantin Wingradoff produces the first records of Opisthorchis infections in humans.[1]
1893 Scientific development American scientists Theobald Smith and F.L. Kilbourne identify the transmission of Babesia bigemina by ticks (Boophilus annulatus).[3] United States
1895 Scientific development Scottish pathologist David Bruce shows that the tsetse fly is the vector of animal trypanosomes.[3]
1895 Medical development Scottish ophtalmologist Douglas Argyll-Robertson describes the clinical presentation of loiasis.[13] Argyll-Robertson records the swellings (now known as Calabar swellings) in Old Calabar in Nigeria.[1]
1897 Scientific development English Army doctor Sir Donald Ross, in India, proves that avian malaria is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. In the same year, Bignami, Bastianelli and Grassi in Italy do the same for human malaria.[3] India, Italy
1898 Scientific development German physician Robert Koch describes Theileria parva, the agent of East Coast fever.[3]
1898 Scientific development French physician Paul-Louis Simond succeeds in demonstrating the transmission of plague by rat fleas.[3]
1899 Epidemiology American parasitologist Charles Wardell Stiles identifies progressive pernicious anemia seen in the southern United States as being caused by the hookworm Ancylostoma duodenale.[59] United States
1900 Scientific development Team in Cuba led by United States Army physician Walter Reed demonstrates the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti).[3] Cuba
1902 Scientific development British parasitologist Joseph Everett Dutton identifies the trypanosome that causes Gambian or chronic sleeping sickness (T. b. gambiense) in humans.[1] Dutton describes the first case of human trypanosomiasis.[60]
1903 Scientific development British scientists William Boog Leishman in England and Charles Donovan in India, independently describe Leishmania donovani, the agent of Kala-azar disease (leishmaniasis).[3]
1903 Scientific development The first cases of human polycystic echinococcosis, a disease resembling alveolar echinococcosis, emerge in Argentina.[41] Argentina
1904 Scientific development German helminthologist Arthur Loos in Cairo discovers the transmission of the hookworm.[3] Egypt
1904 Scientific development Japanese parasitologist Fujiro Katsurada discovers and describes the worm Schistosoma japonicum.[1][61][24]
1905 Scientific development E. Franke is credited with the first suggestion that trypanosomes of the subgenus trypanozoon could change immunologically during the course of an infection, and thus survive the onslaught of their host's antibodies.[62]
1906 Journal Sir Ronald Ross establishes journal Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology.[63] United Kingdom
1906 Scientific development American physician Howard T. Ricketts records the tick Dermacentor andersoni as being a vector of the agents of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever.[3]
1906 Scientific development German zoologist Fritz Schaudinn describes Entamoeba histolytica as a human parasite introducing bloody diarrhea.[3]
1907 Scientific development American parasitologist Ernest Tyzzer describes stages of the genus Cryptosporidium.[3]
1907 Medical development German chemist Paul Ehrlich proposes the drug trypan red against trypanosomiasis.[3]
1908 Scientific development French bacteriologist Charles Nicolle and L.H. Manceaux in North Africa describe Toxoplasma gondii in a rodent.[3]
1908 Journal Cambridge University Press journal Parasitology is first published.[64] United Kingdom
1909 Program launch The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm Disease is organized in the United States, as a result of a gift of US$1 million from John D. Rockefeller.[65]
1909 Scientific development Friedrich Kleine (a colleague of Robert Koch) demonstrates the essential role of the tsetse fly in the life cycle of trypanosomes.[1][66][67]
1909 Scientific development Two teams led by French scientist Charles Nicolle in Tunis and Howard Taylor Ricketts in Mexico prove that the louse Pediculus humanus corporis is the vector of the typhus-causing rickettsia.[3] Tunis, Mexico
1910 Scientific development Scottish physician Patrick Manson confirms that loiasis is caused by roundworms.[13]
1910 Scientific development Italian bacteriologist Antonio Carini discovers Pneumocystis carinii in rats.[3]
1910 Scientific development British parasitologists John William Watson Stephens and Harold Fantham describe Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, the cause of Rhodesian or acute sleeping sickness.[1][68][69]
1912 British parasitologist Robert Thompson Leiper confirms biting flies, Chrysops spp. as the transmission vector in loiasis.[13][1]
1912 Kinghorn and Yorke show that Trypanosoma rhodesiense transmission is due to bites of tsetse flies of the genus Glossina.[68][70]
1914 Journal The Journal of Parasitology by the American Society of Parasitologists is first published.[71] United States
1915 Scientific development Guatemaltecan physician Rodolfo Robles describes the so-called "American onchocerciasis", which is caused by a filarial parasite.[13][72][73]
1915 Scientific development The uncommon intestinal parasite Isospora belli is discovered by Woodcock.[74][75][76][77]
1921 Scientific development Edouard and Etienne Sergent demonstrate the experimental proof of transmission to humans by sandflies belonging to the genus Phlebotomus.[1][78][79][80]
1923 Jouenal The journal Annales de parasitologie humaine et comparee is first published.[81] France
1924 Organization The American Society of Parasitologists is founded.[82] United States
1928 Scientific development Australian professor of surgery, Sir Harold Robert Dew, publishes the first classic book on hydatid disease.[14][83][84][85]
1933 Scientific development Yoshino describes with great histologic detail the early development of cysticerci in pigs.[5]
1947 Medical development American chemist Redginal I. Hewitt develops an effective antifilarial treatment with diethylcarbamazine.[13][86][87]
1951 Journal Journal Experimental Parasitology is first published.[88]
1954 Scientific development American physician Robert Rendtorff produces unambiguous evidence linking the parasite Giardia duodenalis with Giardiasis.[1]
1956 Scientific development Clonorchis sinensis eggs are detected in desiccated fecal remains from a mummy of the Ming dynasty, in the Guangdong province of China.[52]
1962 Organization The Société Française de Parasitologie (English: "French Society of Parasitology") is founded.[89] France
1962 Scientific development Rockefeller Institute scientist Norman Stoll describes hookworm infection as an extremely dangerous one because its damage is “silent and insidious.”[90][91][92][93]
1963 Journal Journal Advances in Parasitology is first published.[94] United States
1966 Organization The European Federation of Parasitologists is founded.[95]
1969 Scientific development Keith Vickerman elaborates antigenic variation, the mechanism of how the parasite evades the immune response.[96][97][98]
1971 Journal The International Journal for Parasitology is first published.[99]
1972 Scientific development Rausch and Bernstein discover Echinococcus vogeli. This is the last discovery concerning the Echinococcus species.[14]
1976 Scientific development Nime and Meisel independently record Cryptosporidium parvum in humans.[1][100][101]
1977 Medical development Japanese physician Satoshi Omura develops a new, highly effective drug called ivermectin.[13][102][103]
1979 Journal Journal Systematic Parasitology is established.[104]
1980 Epidemiology Cryptosporidium parvum is recognized to be a common, serious primary cause of outbreaks as well as sporadic cases of diarrhea in certain mammals.[100]
1983 Epidemiology Cryptosporidium parvum emerges with AIDS, as a life-threatening disease within this sub-population.[100]
1987 American physicians Pindaros Roy Vagelos and William Campbell persuade Merck&Co. to donate the drug ivermectin to establish the first filarial eradication programs in the world.[13][13]
1993 Epidemiology Cryptosporidium parvum reaches the public domain when it becomes widely recognized as the most serious, and difficult to control, cause of water-borne-related diarrhea.[100]
2001 Program launch The 54th World Health Assembly passes a resolution demanding member states to attain a minimum target of regular deworming of at least 75% of all at-risk school children by the year 2010.[105]
2008 Program launch United States President Bill Clinton announces a mega-commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2008 Annual Meeting to de-worm 10 million children.[106]
2008 Journal Journal Parasites & Vectors is launched.[107]
2009 Scientific development Schistosoma haematobiumSchistosoma bovis hybrids are described in northern Senegalese children.[108] Senegal
2015 Epidemiology Hookworm infected about 428 million people in the year.[109]

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External links


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