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Historical aspects of parasitology

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Charles Donovan (from the Wellcome Collection, CC BY 4.0 licence)


The history of parasitism is a long one. Parasites first evolved long before humans evolved, and early writings from Egypt mention ones such as roundworms and tapeworms. In the 17th century, scientists such as Francesco Redi and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek began to study them in greater detail and created an early version of parasitology. Following new discoveries, observations, and refinements, the modern field took shape in the 19th century, and since then further advancements have contributed to the field.

The reviews presented in this thematic series explore two historical aspects of parasitism: charting the evolution of certain parasites throughout the years, and examining the history of parasitology in a fascinating journey through the main scientific discoveries and breakthroughs in the discipline.

All articles submitted to this collection will be subject to the journal’s normal peer review process.

Submit here to Parasites & Vectors.

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View all collections published in Parasites & Vectors


  1. Throughout history, women have been actively involved in the advancement of science, while struggling to overcome challenges to participate and a lack of recognition. Prior to 1950, most women were not include...

    Authors: Adriana Troyo, María Paula González-Sequeira, Mónica Aguirre-Salazar, Ian Cambronero-Ortíz, Luis Enrique Chaves-González, María José Mejías-Alpízar, Kendall Alvarado-Molina, Ólger Calderón-Arguedas and Diana Rojas-Araya
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2022 15:114
  2. American trypanosomiasis, or Chagas disease, is a growing public health problem in Panama, and further forest degradation due to human population growth is expected to worsen the situation. Most people infecte...

    Authors: Indra G. Rodriguez and Jose R. Loaiza
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2017 10:459
  3. In this review article the history of leishmaniasis is discussed regarding the origin of the genus Leishmania in the Mesozoic era and its subsequent geographical distribution, initial evidence of the disease in a...

    Authors: Dietmar Steverding
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2017 10:82
  4. When Plasmodium vivax tertian malaria was prevalent in The Netherlands, the use of therapeutic malaria for the treatment of neurosyphilis patients presented an opportunity for biological studies of the parasite’s...

    Authors: Jan Peter Verhave
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2013 6:19
  5. The prehistory of African trypanosomiasis indicates that the disease may have been an important selective factor in the evolution of hominids. Ancient history and medieval history reveal that African trypanoso...

    Authors: Dietmar Steverding
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2008 1:3