Parasites in the spotlight

August 15, 2013

Some of the world's leading researchers will head to Perth next month to discuss the different ways parasites affect people and pets.

Murdoch University, in partnership with the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc., will hold a free public event designed to bust some of the myths surrounding parasites.

"Parasites affect so many different facets of our lives, yet the general public doesn’t know a lot about them," said Professor Andrew Thompson, Chair in Parasitology at Murdoch University.

"We're often asked whether parasites burrow through the skin, whether they can help people lose weight, or whether they can be transmitted from pets to humans.

"If you've ever suffered a dreaded case of 'Bali Belly' or 'traveller's diarrhoea', chances are, you've come into contact with a parasite."

Professor Thompson, along with three other leading experts, will lead an interactive hour-long discussion at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre on Sunday 25 August, between 5pm and 6pm.

Children can interact with cuddly animals and participate in supervised science activities during the main event.

Register for this free event at

This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education in partnership with the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc., and Murdoch University.

The following day marks the start of the 24th International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP).

The Premier of Western Australia, the Hon. Colin Barnett MLA, will officially open the conference on Monday 26 August at 8.30am.

"We are honoured the Premier could join us in welcoming some of the world’s most prominent parasitologists," Professor Thompson said.

"There is a lot of exciting research being undertaken, both here and abroad, which has the potential to help manage and prevent serious illnesses caused by parasites."

For more information, or to download a conference program, visit

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