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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Frontiers of parasitology research in the People's Republic of China: infection, diagnosis, protection and surveillance

Jun-Hu Chen1, Hen Wang2, Jia-Xu Chen1, Robert Bergquist3, Marcel Tanner45, Jürg Utzinger45 and Xiao-Nong Zhou1*

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO Collaborating Centre for Malaria, Schistosomiasis and Filariasis, Key Laboratory of Parasite and Vector Biology, Ministry of Health, Shanghai, 200025, People’s Republic of China

2 Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100005, People’s Republic of China

3 Ingerod, 407, Brastad, Sweden

4 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, P.O. Box, CH-4002, Basel, Switzerland

5 University of Basel, P.O. Box, CH-4003, Basel, Switzerland

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:221  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-221

Published: 4 October 2012

Abstract

Control and eventual elimination of human parasitic diseases in the People's Republic of China (P.R. China) requires novel approaches, particularly in the areas of diagnostics, mathematical modelling, monitoring, evaluation, surveillance and public health response. A comprehensive effort, involving the collaboration of 188 scientists (>85% from P.R. China) from 48 different institutions and universities (80% from P.R. China), covers this collection of 29 articles published in Parasites & Vectors. The research mainly stems from a research project entitled “Surveillance and diagnostic tools for major parasitic diseases in P.R. China” (grant no. 2008ZX10004-011) and highlights the frontiers of research in parasitology. The majority of articles in this thematic series deals with the most important parasitic diseases in P.R. China, emphasizing Schistosoma japonicum, Plasmodium vivax and Clonorchis sinensis plus some parasites of emerging importance such as Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Significant achievements have been made through the collaborative research programme in the following three fields: (i) development of strategies for the national control programme; (ii) updating the surveillance data of parasitic infections both in human and animals; and (iii) improvement of existing, and development of novel, diagnostic tools to detect parasitic infections. The progress is considerable and warrants broad validation efforts. Combined with the development of improved tools for diagnosis and surveillance, integrated and multi-pronged control strategies should now pave the way for elimination of parasitic diseases in P.R. China. Experiences and lessons learned can stimulate control and elimination efforts of parasitic diseases in other parts of the world.

Keywords:
Parasitology; Infection; Diagnosis; Surveillance; Public health responses; People’s Republic of China