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New challenges for the control of human schistosomiasis: The possible impact of wild rodents in Schistosoma mansoni transmission


Schistosomiasis is a neglected parasitic disease caused by digenean trematodes from the genus Schistosoma that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite efforts to control its transmission, this disease remains active within several endemic regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In addition to the deficits in sanitation and educational structure, another major obstacle hindering the eradication of schistosomiasis is the ability of Schistosoma spp. to naturally infect multiple vertebrate hosts, particularly wild rodents. Due to climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances, contact between humans and wild animals has increased, and this has contributed to more frequent interactions between Schistosoma species that typically infect different hosts. This new transmission dynamic involving Schistosoma spp., humans, wild rodents, and livestock could potentially increase the frequency of Schistosoma hybridization and the establishment of new genotypes and strains. Although it is not currently possible to precisely measure how this biological phenomenon affects the epidemiology and morbidity of schistosomiasis, we speculate that these Schistosoma variants may negatively impact control strategies, treatment regimens, and disease burden in humans. In the present study, we discuss the natural infections of wild rodents with Schistosoma spp., the role of these animals as Schistosoma spp. reservoirs, and how they may select hybrids and strains of Schistosoma mansoni. We also discuss measures required to shed light on the actual role of the wild rodents Nectomys squamipes and Holochilus sciureus in the transmission and morbidity of schistosomiasis in Brazil.

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Journal Article
Miranda GS
Rodrigues JGM
Camelo GMA
Silva-Souza N
Neves RH
Machado-Silva JR
Negrão-Corrêa DA

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