Amphistome Flukes to Control Schistosomes in African Snails
Eric Loker of the University of New Mexico in the U.S., along with colleagues from KEMRI in Kenya, will test whether parasitic flatworms known as amphistome flukes can eradicate the human parasite Schistosoma with the goal of helping prevent human infections. These two types of worms co-inhabit the same snail species. The investigators will harvest large quantities of amphistome eggs from the rumens of routinely slaughtered goats and cattle, and use temperature and light to induce miracidia (larva) to hatch in the laboratory. These will then be tested for their ability to infect schistosome-transmitting snails and to block or prevent schistosome infections in these snails. This low-tech, low-cost approach is more environmentally friendly than current chemical approaches, and its application to transmission sites can be easily halted once infection rates are under control.