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J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 1997 Aug;27(2):317-29.

Susceptibility of three successive snail generations from positive and negative laboratory bred Biomphalaria alexandrina from different localities in Egypt to infection with Schistosoma mansoni from Giza.

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Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt.


Susceptibility of snail vectors to schistosome infection varies between geographical areas, populations in the same area and among individuals in the same population. It is also affected by biological factors of which are snail size (age), number and age of miracidia exposed to water, temperature, illumination and darkness. Our preview studies indicated that snails 4-6 mm in diameter exposed to 5 freshly hatched miracidia under light and in water at 25 degrees C are optimum conditions for infection of Biomphalaria alexandria from various localities in Egypt with Schistosoma mansoni (TBRI strain maintained in hamsters). In the present study, groups of 16 snails from three successive generations from positive and negative laboratory bred B. alexandrina from Giza, Alexandria, Menoufia, Cairo and Minia were exposed to S. mansoni miracidia (TBRI Strain) from Giza under the above mentioned optimum conditions. From the 20th day infection snails were checked from cercariae shedding to estimate the prepatent period and their number from each snail light for one hour. B. alexandrina from the various localities in Egypt were susceptible to S. mansoni (TBRI strain) infection. Snails from Alexandria were the most susceptible, followed by those from Cairo, Giza, Menoufia and Minia. Snails from positive generations were more susceptible to infection than those from negative ones. However, there has been a decline in the susceptibility of snails from one generation to the next. The prepatent period for shedding of cercariae was 27 days in case of snails from positive generations and it was extended to 38 days among snails from negative ones. It can be concluded that: (1) There are different levels of susceptibility between B. alexandrina from the various localities in Egypt and infection with S. mansoni from Giza. (2) Unsusceptibility (refractory character) of B. alexandrina to S. mansoni infection could be a heritable character like susceptibility. Consequently, it would be beneficial to select actively resistant snails and mass culture them to increase the proportion of alleles for insusceptibility as a possible mean for biological control of schistosomiasis in natural population.

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