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A call for standardised snail ecological studies to support schistosomiasis risk assessment and snail control efforts

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Freshwater snails act as intermediate hosts (IH) for schistosomiasis, a tropical disease affecting over 200 million people worldwide. Despite their medical importance, an extensive understanding of IH snail ecology remains absent. Especially data on the tolerance limits to different abiotic factors are fragmented and incomplete. Consequently, the construction of accurate species distribution models to identify snail habitats and guide targeted snail control efforts remains difficult. Here, we compiled a summary on the tolerance limits to abiotic factors of African IH snails of human schistosomiasis. A systematic search on Web of Science, PubMed, and Embase identified 45 relevant studies. Synthesis of these studies indicates that research efforts differ greatly between IH snail species, life stages, and abiotic factors. The importance of each abiotic factor in determining snail presence and abundance is discussed. Furthermore, attention was drawn to knowledge gaps and the lack of standardised experimental designs, which impedes comparisons between studies. This in turn prevents us from making firm conclusions and calls for best practices adopted by all malacologists. In doing so, IH snail ecological data could serve as a basis to assess schistosomiasis risk and guide snail control efforts in order to support schistosomiasis control.
Tijdschrift: Hydrobiologia
ISSN: 0018-8158
Issue: 8
Volume: 848
Pagina's: 1773 - 1793