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A comparative evaluation of snail sampling and cercariometry to detect Schistosoma mansoni transmission in a large-scale, longitudinal field-study in Machakos, Kenya

  • J. H. Ouma (a1), R. F. Sturrock (a2), R. K. Klumpp (a3) and H. C. Kariuki (a1)

Summary

In an operational Schistosoma mansoni field-study in an area of about 20 km (population approximately 8000), transmission detection by simple snail sampling was compared with cercariometry. Between 1985 and 1987, 62 field sites were sampled at fortnightly intervals. Of a total of 2758 field observations, 89.8% gave full snail data; 64.4% full cercarial data; and 61.7% complete data for both methods. The complete data sets showed significant but not strong correlations between Biomphalaria pfeifferi (total and infected with S. mansoni or other trematodes) and cercarial (S. mansoni and non-human) recoveries. Non-human (but not S. mansoni) cercarial recovery decreased with deteriorating cercariometry filter quality. Both snail and cercarial recoveries diminished significantly with increasing water flows at the time of collection. Many samples yielded infected snails or cercariae, but not both, and neither method detected significantly more transmission sites. The method of choice for detecting transmission in a large-scale field-study depends on logistical and financial considerations. Relatively simple snail sampling allows quick, cheap and widespread data collection adequate for most purposes but more complicated cercariometry is still valuable for specific, small-scale studies.

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