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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Parasites & Vectors
Title Longitudinal survey on the distribution of Biomphalaria sudanica and B. choanomophala in Mwanza region, on the shores of Lake Victoria, Tanzania: implications for schistosomiasis transmission and control
Volume 10
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 316
URL https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-017-2252-z
Schistosomiasis is hyper-endemic in the Lake Victoria basin; with intestinal schistosomiasis plaguing communities adjacent to the lake, where the intermediate host snails live. The two intermediate host species of Schistosoma mansoni in the Mwanza region are Biomphalaria sudanica, found on the banks of the lakes, and B. choanomphala, found in the lake itself. There are few longitudinal surveys documenting changing abundance and differential transmission patterns of these Biomphalaria snails across seasons and years. We undertook 15 field surveys at 26 sites over four years to determine the parameters that influence Biomphalaria abundance, presence of S. mansoni-shedding snails and impact of schistosomiasis treatment interventions on transmission potential in the Mwanza region.

Statistical analysis revealed seasonal difference in the abundance of B. sudanica with the highest number of snails found in the dry season (Kruskal-Wallis χ 2 = 37.231, df = 3, P < 0.0001). Water measurements were not associated with B. sudanica abundance; however, high levels of rainfall did have a negative effect on B. sudanica [coefficient effect -0.1405, 95% CI (-0.2666, -0.0144)] and B. choanomphala abundance [coefficient effect -0.4388, 95% CI (-0.8546, -0.0231)] potentially due to inundation of sites “diluting” the snails and influencing collection outcome. Biomphalaria sudanica snails were found at all sites whereas B. choanomphala were far more focal and only found in certain sites. Shedding Biomphalaria did not show any variation between dry and rainy seasons; however, a decrease in shedding snails was observed in year 4 of the study.

Biomphalaria sudanica is uniformly present in the Mwanza region whereas B. choanomphala is far more focal. Seasonality plays a role for B. sudanica abundance, likely due to its habitat preference on the banks of the lake, but not for B. choanomphala. The decrease in shedding Biomphalaria abundance in Year 4 could be linked to ongoing schistosomiasis treatment efforts in the neighbouring human populations. The highest number of shedding Biomphalaria was observed at sites with high levels of human movement. Prioritising snail control at such sites could greatly reduce transmission in these high-risk areas.

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