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Short history of Department of Parasitology

The Department of Pathohistology-Parasitology was established in the year of foundation (1927) of the predecessor institute of today's National Center for Epidemiology (NCE). The Department of Parasitology became an independent department in 1936. Over and above the examination of samples taken for clinical reasons, human samples taken for epidemiological screenings were also examined at the Department. Owing to this, the Department had data yet in the middle of the 1930's about the incidence, and the geographical distribution of enteral parasitic diseases in Hungary.

The autochthon malaria, and ancylostomosis were eradicated, the incidences of trichuriosis, ascariosis, and strongyloidosis were significantly decreased in the endemic areas by the collaborations with clinicians, veterinarians, other departments of the institute, and further institutes of the predecessor of today's National Public Health and Medical Officers Service (NPHMOS).

In the 1950's, the department took part in drug-efficiency testing, and development of medical treatments by antihelminthics. Introduction of new diagnostic methods in the laboratories of the NPHMOS has been guided by the department continuously since the 1950's.

Following the introduction of serodiagnostic tests to detect human toxoplasmosis in the laboratories of the NPHMOS (the late 1960's), in the 1970's, development of serodiagnostic techniques for tissue dwelling parasites (Trichinella spp., Toxocara spp., Echinococcus spp.) became conspicuous.

An important challenge of the 1990's was the growing interest in the opportunistic and tropical parasites as the numbers of immune-compromised patients, and travelers increased significantly.

In the last decade, many sensitive techniques were introduced at the department: immuno-chromatography or ELISA to detect parasitic antigens (Giardia intestinalis, Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium parvum, Plasmodium spp.), WB to detect human antibodies in Toxoplasma gondii, Toxocara spp., Echinococcus spp., Trichinella spp., Schistosoma spp., Leischmania spp., and Tenia solium (cysticercosis) infections, and by following the improvement of molecular biological techniques in the field of clinical parasitology, PCR-based techniques (for T. gondii, Plasmodium spp., G. intestinalis, E. histolytica) were added to the diagnostic laboratory procedures used up till that time.

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