What is the importance of zoonotic trichomonads for human health?

Julia M. Maritz, Kirkwood M. Land, Jane M. Carlton, Robert P. Hirt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Trichomonads are common parasites of many vertebrate and invertebrate species, with four species classically recognized as human parasites: Dientamoeba fragilis, Pentatrichomonas hominis, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Trichomonas tenax. The latter two species are considered human-specific; by contrast, D. fragilis and P. hominis have been isolated from domestic and farm mammals, demonstrating a wide host range and potential zoonotic origin. Several new studies have highlighted the zoonotic dimension of trichomonads. First, species typically known to infect birds and domestic mammals have been identified in human clinical samples. Second, several phylogenetic analyses have identified animal-derived trichomonads as close sister taxa of the two human-specific species. It is our opinion, therefore, that these observations prompt further investigation into the importance of zoonotic trichomonads for human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Bird disease
  • Emerging infectious disease
  • Trichomonas
  • Zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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