Schistosomiasis is a major neglected tropical disease (NTDs) that remains refractory to control. It is a chronic debilitating disease of poverty that persists in over 75 countries of the tropics and sub-tropics, causing at least 200,000 deaths a year. Its recent emergence in Corsica (France) confirms its spread from Africa to regions at higher latitudes. Freshwater gastropod snails are obligate hosts for the development of asexual stages of the trematode parasite that causes schistosomiasis. Lately, Mass Drug Administration (MDA) alone (with praziquantel) to control schistosomiasis has shown underwhelming impact in curtailing transmission. WHO has projected 2050 as the year for global elimination of schistosomiasis. However, without a vaccine to prevent the disease and understanding that MDA alone will fail to eradicate schistosomiasis, alternative control approaches are desperately needed. One control approach first proposed in the 1950s by Hubbendick, aims to introduce resistant snails into endemic foci to replace the population of resident susceptible snails as a form of biological control to block transmission. Interestingly, as proof of principle, Jordan working on the Island of St Lucia in the 1970s, used a non-compatible snail, Biomphalariastraminae, to block transmission of S. mansoni in the part of the island where this form of control was implemented.
Citation: Knight M, Elhelu O, Smith M, Haugen B, Miller A, et al. (2015) Susceptibility of Snails to Infection with Schistosomes is influenced by Temperature and Expression of Heat Shock Proteins. Epidemiology (sunnyvale) 5:189.