Skip to main content
Log in

Experimental epidemiology of schistosomiasis

I. The prepatent period and cercarial production ofSchistosoma mansoni inBiomphalaria snails at various constant temperatures

  • Original Investigations
  • Published:
Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Laboratory experiments have permitted the quantification of the developmental times (prepatent periods) ofSchistosoma mansoni in the snail over the whole possible range of constant temperatures. The basis relationship is satisfactorily described by a hyperbola of the formulay=268/(x−14.2),y being the minimum time from miracidial infection to cercariae shedding (in days)x the mean temperature, and 14.2 the theoretical temperature threshold (in °C). Cercariae production takes place within the limits of +16°C and 35°C, the number of cercariae being low and the mortality of snails high at the extreme values.

Long-term alternations between two temperature levels resulted in prepatent periods corresponding exactly to the proportional time-temperature products. However, slight accelerations of up to 7% and more could be observed when the prepatency began in a period of high temperature.

The number of cercariae each snail shed during a period of one hour exposure per week decreased from about 1,500 at 18°C to about 250 at 16°C. Shedding ceased completely after 1–2 weeks at 15°C.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Foster, R.: The effect of temperature on the development ofSchistosoma mansoni Sambon 1907 in the intermediate host. J. Trop. Med. Hyg.67, 289–292 (1964)

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Frandsen, F.: Discussion of the relationships betweenSchistosoma and their intermediate hosts, assessment of the degree of host-parasite compatibility and evaluation of schistosome taxonomy. Z. Parasitenkd.58, 275–296 (1979)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Frank, G.H.: The effect of temperature on the rate of development and emergence of schistosome cercariae. Zoologica Africana2, 211–221 (1966)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, R.M., Davey, T.H., Peaston, H.: The transmission of human bilharziasis in Sierra Leone, with an account of the life cycle of the schistosomes concerned,S. mansoni andS. haematobium. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol.28, 323–415 (1934)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman, D.O., Zakhary, R.: A study of water temperatures in a representative Egyption canal in connection with schistosomiasis control. J. Egypt. Med. Assoc.37, 963–967 (1954)

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Laudien, H.: Effect of temperature on processes of growth and development. In: Temperature and life, H. Precht, J. Christophersen, H. Hensel, W. Larcher, eds., pp. 355–377. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer 1973

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, K.L., Lewis, E.R.: Delay time models of population dynamics with application to schistosomiasis control. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. BME23, 225–233 (1976)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, K.L., Lewis, E.R.: Prediction of schistosome cercarial shedding with a physiological-time model. Int. J. Epidemiol.6, 161–167 (1977)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nåsell, I.: A hybrid model of schistosomiasis with snail latency. Theor. Popul. Biol.10, 47–69 (1976)

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Neumann, D., Heimbach, F.: Das Wachstum des Kohlweißlings bei konstanten und tagesperiodisch wechselnden Temperaturen. Oecologia20, 135–141 (1975)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pflüger, W.: Ecological studies in Madagascar ofBiomphalaria pfeifferi, intermediate host ofSchistosoma mansoni. 1. Seasonal variations and epidemiological features in the endemic area of Ambositra. Arch. Inst. Pasteur Madagascar45, 79–114 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  • Pflüger, W.: Ecological studies in Madagascar ofBiomphalaria pfeifferi, intermediate host ofSchistosoma mansoni. 2. Biology and dynamics in the non-endemic area of Antananarivo. Arch. Inst. Pasteur Madagascar46, 241–269 (1978)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pitchford, R.J., Visser, P.S.: Results of exposing mice to schistosomiasis by immersion in natural water. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg.56, 294–301 (1962)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pitchford, R.J., Visser, P.S.: Some further observations on schistosome transmission in the Eastern Transvaal. Bull. WHO32, 83–104 (1965)

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Pitchford, R.J., Meyling, A.H., Meyling, J., Du Toit, J.F.: Cercarial shedding pattern of vario schistosome species under outdoor conditions in the Transvaal. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol.63, 359–371 (1969)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Polderman, A.M.: The transmission of intestinal schistosomiasis in Begemder province, Ethiopia. Acta Leiden.42, 1–193 (1975)

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schutte, C.H.J.: Studies on the South African strain ofSchistosoma mansoni. 2. The intra-molluscan larval stages. S. Afr. J. Sci.70, 327–346 (1974)

    Google Scholar 

  • Shattock, M.S., Fraser, R.J., Garnett, P.A.: Seasonal variations of cercarial output fromBiomphalaria pfeifferi andBulinus (Physopsis) globosus in a natural habitat in Southern Rhodesia. Bull. WHO33, 276–278 (1965)

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Shiff, C.J., Evans, A., Yiannakis, C., Eardley, M.: Seasonal influence on the production ofSchistosoma haematobium andS. mansoni cercariae in Rhodesia. Int. J. Parasitol.5, 119–123 (1975)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Shiff, C.J., Coutts, W.C.C., Yiannakis, C., Holmes, R.W.: Seasonal patterns in the transmission ofSchistosoma haematobium in Rhodesia, and its control by winter application of molluscicide. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg.73, 375–380 (1979)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wagner, E.D., Moore, B.: The development ofSchistosoma mansoni in snails kept at certain constant temperatures. Trans. Am. Microsc. Soc.78, 424–428 (1959)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Webbe, G.: Transmission of bilharziasis. 2. Production of cercariae. Bull. WHO33, 155–162 (1965)

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • World Health Organization: Report of the first meeting of the scientific working group on schistosomiasis (Special programme for research and training in tropical disease). TDR/MPD/SWG-SCH (1)/77.3, 1–12 Geneva 1977

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pflüger, W. Experimental epidemiology of schistosomiasis. Z. Parasitenkd. 63, 159–169 (1980).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words