A systematic review of zoonotic enteric parasitic diseases among nomadic and pastoral people

Amber N. Barnes, Anu Davaasuren, Uyanga Baasandagva, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Introduction: Zoonotic enteric parasites are ubiquitous and remain a public health threat to humans due to our close relationship with domestic animals and wildlife, inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene practices and diet. While most communities are now sedentary, nomadic and pastoral populations still exist and experience unique exposure risks for acquiring zoonotic enteric parasites. Through this systematic review we sought to summarize published research regarding pathogens present in nomadic populations and to identify the risk factors for their infection. Methods: Using systematic review guidelines set forth by PRISMA, research articles were identified, screened and summarized based on exclusion criteria for the documented presence of zoonotic enteric parasites within nomadic or pastoral human populations. A total of 54 articles published between 1956 and 2016 were reviewed to determine the pathogens and exposure risks associated with the global transhumance lifestyle. Results: The included articles reported more than twenty different zoonotic enteric parasite species and illustrated several risk factors for nomadic and pastoralist populations to acquire infection including; a) animal contact, b) food preparation and diet, and c) household characteristics. The most common parasite studied was Echinococcosis spp. and contact with dogs was recognized as a leading risk factor for zoonotic enteric parasites followed by contact with livestock and/or wildlife, water, sanitation, and hygiene barriers, home slaughter of animals, environmental water exposures, household member age and sex, and consumption of unwashed produce or raw, unprocessed, or undercooked milk or meat. Conclusion: Nomadic and pastoral communities are at risk of infection with a variety of zoonotic enteric parasites due to their living environment, cultural and dietary traditions, and close relationship to animals. Global health efforts aimed at reducing the transmission of these animal-to-human pathogens must incorporate a One Health approach to support water, sanitation, and hygiene development, provide education on safe food handling and preparation, and improve the health of domestic animals associated with these groups, particularly dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0188809
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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