Host-parasite relationships and diseases: lessons from the past

I am glad that my symposium "Host-parasite relationships and diseases: lessons from the past" was accepted by the Scientific Committee of the 9 World Congress on Mummy Studies.

ORGANIZERS:
Raffaella Bianucci, Karl Reinhard, Dong Hoon Shin

ABSTRACT:
Many of the parasitic diseases that plagued ancient human populations continue to burden contemporary societies across the globe, and are far from being eradicated. Paleoparasitology is aimed at improving our understanding of the history of parasites and parasite population diversity over time, as well as the natural and anthropogenic conditions that contribute to parasite emergence and maintenance in human groups. Having contributed to shape the dynamics of modern human populations, the study of the extinct populations coupled with the one of extant populations will allow reconstructing the temporal distribution patterns of both the parasites and their hosts. Indirectly, host-parasite relationships glean from the archaeological record also provide information on climate conditions, paleodiet and cultural/mortuary practices. Adauto Araújo participated in these studies. At the time of his death, he began participating in projects that would broaden the field. This symposium summarizes the field and Adauto’s participation, including papers addressing new perspectives.

SYMPOSIASTS:
Kelly M Harkins
Shênia PC Novo
Alena Iniguez
Elisa Pucu
Karl Reinhard
Chang Seok Oh

THE ABSTRACT OF MY LAB:

Current Trends of Paleoparasitology in Korean Mummy Studies

Chang Seok Oh, Min Seo, Ho Chul Ki, Jong-Yil Chai, and Dong Hoon Shin

Bioanthropology and Paleopathology Lab; Department of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea; Department of Parasitology, Dankook University, Chonan, South Korea

Paleoparasitology reveals the prevalence of each parasite infection of the past, by examination on the samples from archaeological sites. Especially as for coprolites obtained from Korean mummy, as its preservation status was quite good for parasitological analysis, invaluable information about the parasitism in history could be accumulated. Briefly, microscopic examination confirmed the presence of parasite eggs in Korean mummy’s coprolites, by which we estimate the infection prevalence of specific parasitism among pre-modern Korean people. Using ancient DNA technique, we can reconstruct each parasite’s phylogenetic trees from a historical perspective. The sociocultural background of the parasitism in pre-modern Korean society was also studied lately. By intense collaboration with historians who know much about what was going on the health and disease status in pre-modern society, we tried to make a hypothesis about the presumptive route of ancient parasite infection in Korea, especially on Ascaris, Trichuris, Clonorchis, Metagonimus, Paragonimus, and Taenia spp. By such interdisciplinary collaboration between different research fields, we can get invaluable academic clues for comprehending ancient parasitism in pre-modern Korean history.

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