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      Interaction between the Intermediate Host of Schistosomiasis in Brazil Biomphalaria glabrata (Planorbidae) and a Possible Competitor Melanoides tuberculata (Thiaridae): I. Laboratory Experiments

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          The biological control of Biomphalaria glabrata, intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni, is one the accepted options to fight schistosomiasis. One of the most promising candidates to control B. glabrata is the snail Melanoides tuberculata, a potential competitor. However, the mechanisms of interaction between the two species are not clear. Our objective is to determine if M. tuberculata indeed compete with B. glabrata, using two laboratory experiments. In Experiment 1, we tested the effect of the presence of M. tuberculata on the fecundity and mortality rates of B. glabrata. In Experiment 2, we tested if there was a direct or indirect interaction between the two species. In Experiment 1, M. tuberculata was eliminated after the peak in reproductive activity of B. glabrata. In Experiment 2, B. glabrata produced more egg masses when raised with M. tuberculata. The conditions leading to this unexpected positive effect of M. tuberculata on the fecundity of B. glabrata need further clarification, but emphasize that detailed studies of the interaction between these species in the conditions of the local environment should be considered.

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          Most cited references 31

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          The introduction of Melanoides tuberculata (Mollusca: Thiaridae) to the island of Saint Lucia (West Indies) and its role in the decline of Biomphalaria glabrata, the snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni.

           J.P. Pointier (1993)
          A malacological survey was carried out in May 1992 in the whole hydrographic system of Saint Lucia 11 years after the end of a biological control programme to eliminate Biomphalaria glabrata, the snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni. A competitor snail, Melanoides tuberculata, was introduced to Saint Lucia in 1978 and field experiments in several habitats were conducted by Prentice between 1978 and 1986. At the present time M. tuberculata is the most common freshwater snail in Saint Lucia. The results of the survey, undertaken in sites where B. glabrata occurred in large populations in the past showed (i) the absence of the snail hosts from seven sites now extensively colonized by the competitor (ii) the presence of B. glabrata in low or very low densities in 17 sites together with the competitor and (iii) the presence of the intermediate hosts in large populations in only two sites where M. tuberculata was absent. These results confirm the positive results observed by Prentice. The presence of another planorbid snail, B. straminea, is reported for the first time in Saint Lucia.
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            Invading freshwater gastropods: some conflicting aspects for public health

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              Current concepts of snail control.

               R Sturrock (2015)
              Schistosomiasis control was impossible without effective tools. Synthetic molluscicides developed in the 1950s spearheaded community level control. Snail eradication proved impossible but repeated mollusciciding to manage natural snail populations could eliminate transmission. Escalating costs, logistical complexity, its labour-intensive nature and possible environmental effects caused some concern. The arrival of safe, effective, single-dose drugs in the 1970s offered an apparently better alternative but experience revealed the need for repeated treatments to minimise reinfection in programmes relying on drugs alone. Combining treatment with mollusciciding was more successful, but broke down if mollusciciding was withdrawn to save money. The provision of sanitation and safe water to prevent transmission is too expensive in poor rural areas where schistosomiasis is endemic; rendering ineffective public health education linked to primary health care. In the tropics, moreover, children (the key group in maintaining transmission) will always play in water. Large scale destruction of natural snail habitats remains impossibly expensive (although proper design could render many new man-made habitats unsuitable for snails). Neither biological control agents nor plant molluscicides have proved satisfactory alternatives to synthetic molluscicides. Biologists can develop effective strategies for using synthetic molluscicides in different epidemiological situations if only, like drugs, their price can be reduced.

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
                Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz
                Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde (Rio de Janeiro )
                April 2002
                : 97
                : 3
                : 363-369
                [1 ] Fiocruz Brasil
                [2 ] Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro Brazil


                Product Information: SciELO Brazil
                TROPICAL MEDICINE


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