A scientific study of parasites, their hosts, and the relationship between the parasite and the host
Parasitology is a branch of science that is concerned with parasites and parasitism. Parasitism is A form of symbiosis in which one organism (called parasite) benefits at the expense of another organism usually of different species (called host). The association may also lead to the injury of the host. An example of parasitism is the association between the parasitic tapeworms and the vertebrate hosts.
Parasitology has different sub-disciplines:
- Medical parasitology, which deals with the human parasites and the diseases caused by them
- Veterinary parasitology, which deals with animal parasites
- Structural parasitology, which studies the structures of proteins from parasites
- Quantitative parasitology, which is the quantitative study of parasitism in a host population
- Parasite ecology, which studies the ecological impact of parasites
The person specializing in parasitology is called parasitologist. Francesco Redi, an Italian physician and biologist, is considered as the father of modern parasitology because of his works and contributions to the field. He was able to identify and describe several parasites.1
1 Roncalli, A. R. (2001). “The history of Italian parasitology” (PDF). Veterinary Parasitology 98 (1–3): 3–10.