Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Epidemiology and Population Health

Committee Chair

O'Brien, Elizabeth

Author's Keywords

Evolution of virulence; Public health; Nematodes; History; Neglected tropical diseases; Host-parasite


Parasites; Medical parasitology; Parasitic diseases


This thesis investigated infection dynamics of parasitic nematodes at both the population and individual levels by exploring evolutionary and historical aspects of infection as well as how host-parasite interactions influence virulence. In particular, this thesis sought to answer questions of how host populations have influenced the spread of infection and how transmission determines infection virulence, with a final goal of understanding how eradication programs for parasites can be developed or improved with this knowledge. The host-parasite dynamic was explored throughout history, with particular focus on the ways host populations have shaped infection distribution in present, historic, and prehistoric times. Then, data for each nematode was systemically collected and presented for a comprehensive analysis of virulence and transmission mode. It was discovered that microparasitic principles of virulence can be applied limitedly to predict virulence of macroparasitic nematodes, and the relative virulence of each nematode can be explained partially by transmission mode.