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Ecohealth. 2014 Jun;11(2):251-4. doi: 10.1007/s10393-013-0882-y. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Introgression in Lake Malaŵi: increasing the threat of human urogenital schistosomiasis?

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Department of Ecosytem Science and Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802, USA,


For the last 15 years, we have studied the relationships among cichlid snail-eating fishes, intermediate snail-host density, and the prevalence of human infection of Schistosoma haematobium in Lake Malaŵi and concluded that the increase of human infection is correlated with the decrease in snail-eating fishes in the shallow waters of the lake. We postulated that a strain of S. haematobium from other parts of Africa, which was introduced into the Cape Maclear region of Lake Malaŵi by tourists, was compatible with Bulinus nyassanus-which is a close relative of B. truncatus, and interbred with the indigenous strain of S. haematobium, which ultimately produced via introgression a strain that can use both B. globosus and B. nyassanus as intermediate hosts. This actively evolving situation involving intermediate snail-host switching and decline of Trematocranus placodon, a natural cichlid snail predator, will impact on transmission of urogenital schistosomiasis within the local communities and on tourists who visit Lake Malaŵi.

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