Many of the parasites affecting man have complex life cycles dependent upon the close proximity of one or more intermediate hosts, and so geographical and ecological conditions are important in the prevalence of parasitic infestations. Activities which affect the ecological balance may produce an effect on the prevalence of parasites. Thus, the construction of dams and irrigation canals in many parts of Africa has led to the spread of schistosomiasis. Dietary and personal habits as well as customs may also contribute to the spread of parasitic disease. For example, the eating of undercooked meat, common in many countries of the Middle East and in the Mediterranean regions, is responsible for taeniasis; on the other hand, strong attachment to household pets like cats and dogs is held responsible for toxocara infestation.
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