Environmental monitoring of medically and veterinary important freshwater snails and their schistosome parasites

Schistosomes are parasitic trematodes causing morbidity in humans, livestock and wildlife. Their life cycles require replication within intermediate aquatic snail hosts, and transmission to definitive host occurs when they come into contact with the schistosome larva (cercariae) infested waters. The infectious stages and the intermediate hosts can be cryptic and not easy to detect without specialist equipment and training. There is a growing need for field friendly assays capable of determining the host and parasite presence or absence in the environment as control programmes need data for success evaluation, and to detect the parasites in new habitats into which they may be spreading.

This project aims to address the need through using both traditional methods of parasite and host detection in environment and through development of novel, field friendly molecular methods. Furthermore this will allow us to shed more light on the presence of other snail-borne trematodes and their molluscs hosts in the study area.

Primary LCNTDR organisation

External partners

UCL Julia Day Lab