Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Water temperature is key to schistosomiasis risk and prevention strategies

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IMAGE: Karena Nguyen in Emory’s biology lab with two freshwater snails that serve as intermediate hosts for the parasites that cause schistosomiasis. view more

Credit: Rachel Hartman

About a billion people worldwide are at risk of schistosomiasis – a debilitating disease caused by parasitic worms that live in freshwater and in snails intermediate hosts. New study finds risk of transmission of schistosomiasis peaks when water warms to 21.7 degrees centigrade, and the most effective interventions should include snail elimination measures implemented when the temperature is lower at this risk threshold.

The proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the results, led by Emory University, University of South Florida and University of Florida.

“We have shown how and why temperature is important for the risk of transmission of schistosomiasis,” explains Karena Nguyen, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at Emory University and the study’s first author. “If we are serious about maximizing human health outcomes, we have to consider disease transmission in the context of regional temperatures and the like…

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