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J Parasitol. 2002 Apr;88(2):232-6.

Distribution of schistosome infections in molluscan hosts at different levels of parasite prevalence.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Biomphalaria glabrata snails infected with Schistosoma mansoni were collected during consecutive seasons from a site in Brazil known to have a very high percentage of infected snails. Schistosoma mansoni cercariae from single snails were used to infect individual mice, and the recovered adult worms were genetically assessed using a mtVNTR marker. The number of unique parasite genotypes found per snail was compared to expected abundance values, based on the infection prevalence at the site, to determine the distribution of S. mansoni infections within the snail population. The observed distributions and those from previous studies were used to examine the relationship between schistosome prevalence and aggregation across a wide range of prevalence values. Our analysis showed that prevalence was inversely related to the degree of parasite overdispersion, and at high prevalence, S. mansoni infections were randomly distributed among snails.

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