Author(s): Waller PJ
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Abstract Because parasites are more abundant, small ruminants in the tropical/subtropical regions of the world experience much greater ravages from internal parasitic disease than those in the temperate regions. In the tropics/subtropics, the limiting ecological factor influencing the severity of parasitism is rainfall, as temperatures almost always favour hatching and development of the free-living stages. Attempts to expand sheep and goat production by replacing traditional village production systems, which rarely involve anthelmintic treatment, with large-scale intensive commercial enterprises invariably induce complete reliance on anthelmintics to control nematode parasites. This has led to the widespread development of high level, multiple anthelmintic resistance throughout the tropics/subtropics, and in certain regions this has reached the ultimate disastrous scenario of total chemotherapeutic failure. Immediate concerted efforts are needed to resolve this crisis. Significant benefits are likely to emerge from research into non-chemotherapeutic approaches to nematode parasite control, such as grazing management, worm vaccines, breed selection and biological control. However, it is likely that none, in isolation or collectively, will completely replace the need for effective anthelmintics. What is needed is the integration of all methods of parasite control as they come to hand, with the underlying aim of reducing the use and thus preserving the effectiveness of anthelmintics. Although cheap and simple procedures, based on sound epidemiological principles, can achieve dramatic benefits in worm control, they have been poorly adopted by livestock owners. Clearly then, the greatest need is for technology transfer and education programmes, but these activities are generally found to be chronically under-resourced.
This article was published in Int J Parasitol
and referenced in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants