News Releases

Professor Basu Talks “Ticks” and Other Parasites at Inaugural Lecture

For Release Upon Receipt - May 28, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. May 28, 2015 – The Caribbean livestock industry experiences losses to the tune of US$62 million, as a result of parasites like ticks. Parasites have been described by one author as “the enemy within.” They affect both humans and animals. Some parasites are relatively harmless; others can produce pathological changes which lead to severe health problems and even death. This, according to research presented by Professor Asoke Basu of The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus.   

Professor Basu has made parasites his life’s work. Last Thursday, May 21, he shared insights with members of his Faculty and wider community based on his years of research in his inaugural lecture as Professor titled “A Journey with Parasites – Focusing Concern, Control, and Eradication in Tropical Regions.” Newly-appointed Professors of The UWI are encouraged to give Public Lectures to share their specific areas of research with the wider community. Professor Basu currently heads the Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences and is a Professor in Veterinary Parasitology in the Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences of the Faculty of Medical Sciences. He believes that nothing short of a thorough knowledge of various aspects of parasites is needed to combat them effectively. This knowledge, he asserts, must include their epidemiology, biology, bionomics, life cycle, and treatment. 

The Professor revealed that globally, some of the more deadly parasites include Onchocerca volvulus (a filarial parasitic nematode) which causes river blindness among people in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central America. It’s estimated that about 25 million people are infected with river blindness worldwide; one million of them become blind. Veterinarians, livestock farmers, and persons who keep domestic pets will be familiar with ticks. Professor Basu described these parasites as fascinating because of their considerable medical and veterinary importance. Ticks are essentially blood-sucking obligatory ectoparasites (they live on the outside of their hosts) of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.  They give rise to anaemia, decreased milk production, paralysis, and irritation from bites. Globally, annual losses as a result of ticks are estimated to be between US$ 13.9 billion and US$ 18.7 billion. Professor Basu has spent time studying the three species of ticks that do the most damage to Caribbean livestock. 

Born in India, Professor Basu joined The University of the West Indies in 2008 as a lecturer. During his time, he has been active in community service and has helped to treat with parasites in broiler chickens, sheep, goats, dogs, and swine.  He earned his PhD from the University of Kalyani, India where his thesis was titled “Studies on ticks of cattle and buffaloes of West Bangal with special emphasis on the biology, pathology, treatment and immunology of Boophilus microplus (Canestrini, 1887).” He has lectured, worked extensively and conducted research throughout the public sector in West Bengal, India. He also served as a Senior Lecturer—conducting research and community service at the University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria. Before joining the St. Augustine Campus, Professor Basu lectured and conducted research at Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


About The UWI 

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)