Parasites have been our follower and foe during the history of Homo sapiens. The prehistoric man was infected and we are still at risk, despite all efforts to eradicate parasitic diseases.

There are various publications of parasitology available on the market for reference. Most of these books tend to concentrate on parasitic infections in the Tropics. There is, however, a dearth of publications that specifically addresses parasites of the Northern hemisphere. At present, there is no publication which addresses the parasites indigenous to the North, given the impression to many that parasites are not a problem in this part of the world. Parasitology is only recently becoming an academic subject in its own right in several northern countries and it would be very useful for medical students and others to have the opportunity to have a concise text book describing the parasites in their own part of the world. Such a text book, concentrated on an area other than the Tropics, would be expected to be of interest to the international community as well.

While many of parasites of the North are present as a zoonosis in the animal population there are also occasional water contamination leading to outbreaks. Many visitors to the cold north are not prepared for and are taken aback by the extent of the micro-predators/ ectoparasite population in the beautiful forests and around the picturesque waterways. Such irritating arthropods include mosquitoes, gnats (black-flies), and ticks which dominate the summer months, while lice (the head louse) remain an all-year-round menace in the day care centres. Search through the literature show that parasitic infections of a more exotic nature may also be indigenous to the North including myiasis. The habit of eating uncooked fish in conjunction with the high rate of infection of the fish population with such parasites as Diphyllobotirum latum (40% of the pike in the Lake Malaren of Stockholm are carriers) makes the potential of such infections high. Toxoplasmosis is one of the most important parasitic infections in the North, found both as the congenital form and in immunosuppressed patients. The increase in this latter group of patients is responsible for the increased incidence in a number of other parasites including Toxoplasma gondii, Microsporidia, Pneumocystis carinii, Cryptosporidia spp., and Acantamoeba spp. This volume gives a broad overview of the parasites present in the North and the diseases they may cause. The first part of the book presents the general epidemiology in different countries of the North, past and present, followed by the biology, pathogenesis, and the specific epidemiology of important parasites in this part of the world. The clinical presentation and laboratory investigations of the diseases are given in separate sections together with methods for laboratory diagnosis. The book concludes with a historical review named Linnaeus, Armauer Hansen and Nordic Research on some neglected diseases, in memory of Elias Bengtsson, a pioneer among the persons introducing clinical parasitology in Sweden.

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