Study of the snail intermediate hosts for Schistosoma mansoni on Itamaracá Island in northeast Brazil: spatial displacement of Biomphalaria glabrata by Biomphalaria straminea

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Constança S. Barbosa *
Verônica S. Barbosa
Wheverton C. Nascimento
Otavio S. Pieri
Karina C. G. M. Araújo
(*) Corresponding Author:
Constança S. Barbosa |


In 2012 a malacological survey of the breeding sites of Biomphalaria glabrata and B. straminea, the two intermediate host snails of Schistosoma mansoni, was carried out on Itamaraca Island in Pernambuco, Brazil. This study has now been extended by studying the competition between the two species. Snails were collected and dissected to identify the species and tests were performed to verify S. mansoni infection. Student’s t test was used to compare the proportion between the two species and their breeding sites and a parasitological survey was conducted among local residents, using the Kato-Katz method. The spatial distribution of the two snail species was determined using TerraView, while a snail density map was constructed by Kernel estimate. The survey identified two breeding sites for B. glabrata with 17 specimens and 19 breeding sites for B. straminea with 459 snails, all of them negative for S. mansoni infection. The statistical analysis revealed that the proportion of the numbers of specimens and breeding sites of B. straminea (37.84 ± 9.01) were significantly greater than those of B. glabrata (8.50 ± 6.50). Parasitological examinations from 41 residents diagnosed two cases of schistosomiasis with parasite loads of 60 and 84 eggs per 1 g of stool, respectively. This indiction of a competitive process between the two snail species requires monitoring of schistosomiasis in the resident and travelling human populations occupying this environment, which could potentially result in social and economic changes on the island risking its attraction as a centre for eco-tourism.

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