Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 839–849 | Cite as

Lymnaeid Snail Vectors of Fascioliasis, Including the First Finding of Lymnaea neotropica in Ecuador, Assessed by Ribosomal DNA Sequencing in the Southern Zone Close to the Peru Border

  • A. F. Villavicencio
  • M. Dolores BarguesEmail author
  • Patricio Artigas
  • R. Guamán
  • S. M. Ulloa
  • J. Romero
  • David Osca
  • Santiago Mas-Coma
Original Paper



Fascioliasis is a freshwater snail-borne zoonotic trematodiasis of high pathogenicity and wide veterinary repercussions. In South America, moreover, it causes serious public health problems, with high human infection rates in Andean countries. Ecuador offers a worrying risky scenario due to its physiography, including many human infection reports and animal endemicity throughout its Andean highlands.


Endemic areas with increasing animal fascioliasis were surveyed for lymnaeid snails in the province of Loja, southern Ecuador, close to the border of Peru, the country known to present the widest human fascioliasis endemic zone. The altitude of the sampling sites ranged between 150 and 1770 m a.s.l., and their location was close to human villages. Biotopes surveyed were characterized according to fascioliasis transmission needs.


The species Lymnaea schirazensis and L. neotropica were identified by rDNA ITS-2 and ITS-1 sequencing. The non-transmitting L. schirazensis combined haplotype agreed with populations of this species previously reported from northern Ecuador. The finding of the efficient vector L. neotropica is reported for the first time in Ecuador and suggests a passive introduction from neighbouring Peru by uncontrolled livestock transport.


Rice irrigation system implementation, lymnaeid finding on Taraxacum (dandelion) plants which are consumed fresh in salads by people, and Saccharum (sugarcane), whose bark is peeled off with the teeth, represent potential infection sources for humans. The closeness to the Cajamarca human hyperendemic area in northern Peru, where the same two lymnaeids have been also found and triclabendazole resistance reported, is an additional risk to be considered regarding the livestock transborder exchange.


Lymnaeidae Lymnaea neotropica Lymnaea schirazensis rDNA combined haplotyping Vectors Fascioliasis epidemiology Fasciola hepatica Southern Ecuador South America 



The Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas de Ecuador supported the study and funded the travel, stay, and material transport to the WHO Collaborating Centre on Fascioliasis and Its Snail Vectors at the University of Valencia, Spain. The Agencia de Regulación y Control Fito y Zoosanitario (Agrocalidad), Loja, for the valuable information provided about fascioliasis in the province of Loja. Emil León, Darwin Pacha, Paul Carpio, and Freddy Cueva furnished helpful data on condemned livers at slaughterhouses. Edison Medina is greatly acknowledged for his field work assistance. Spanish collaboration funded by the Project no. RD16/0027/0023, Red de Investigación Cooperativa en Enfermedades Tropicales—RICET, of the National Program I + D+I 2008–2011, ISCIII—Subdirección General de Redes y Centros de Investigación Cooperativa, Ministry of Health and Consumption, Madrid, Spain, and Project PROMETEO/2012/042, of the program of Ayudas para Grupos de Investigación de Excelencia, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia, Spain.


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Copyright information

© Witold Stefański Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. F. Villavicencio
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Dolores Bargues
    • 2
    Email author
  • Patricio Artigas
    • 2
  • R. Guamán
    • 1
  • S. M. Ulloa
    • 1
  • J. Romero
    • 1
  • David Osca
    • 2
  • Santiago Mas-Coma
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida y AgriculturaUniversidad de las Fuerzas Armadas-ESPE, Extensión Santo Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasEcuador
  2. 2.Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de FarmaciaUniversidad de ValenciaBurjassotSpain

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