Biomphalaria: Natural History, Ecology and Schistosome Transmission



This chapter reviews the environmental and ecological factors that influence the local distribution of Biomphalaria spp. in Africa and South America, including temperature, light, water chemistry and conductivity, depth and types of water body and aquatic vegetation. The role of these intermediate snail hosts in the transmission of Schistosoma mansoni is reviewed, including aspects related to species specificity, the impact of seasonality and focality of transmission. Monitoring and surveillance techniques are also considered, in particular new molecular techniques for detecting prepatent and patent infections, as well as Geographical Information Systems and their application for risk mapping in-line with schistosomiasis control programmes. The need to document the ecological requirements of species in this medically important genus is emphasised due to ongoing environmental and predicted climatic changes.


Normalise Difference Vegetation Index Geographical Information System Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Irrigation Canal Freshwater Snail 


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wolfson Wellcome Biomedical Laboratories, Department of ZoologyNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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