Parasitology

Research Article

Contrasting reservoirs for Schistosoma japonicum between marshland and hilly regions in Anhui, China – a two-year longitudinal parasitological survey

DA-BING LUa1 c1, TIAN-PING WANGa2, JAMES W. RUDGEa1, CHRISTL A. DONNELLYa1, GUO-REN FANGa2 and JOANNE P. WEBSTERa1

a1 Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK

a2 Anhui Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Wuhu, People's Republic of China

SUMMARY

Schistosoma japonicum remains highly endemic in many counties in China and has recently re-emerged, to a large extent, in previously controlled areas. To test the hypothesis that small rodents and less agriculturally important domestic animals such as dogs and cats may play an important role in the transmission and potential re-emergence of this disease, an annual investigation of S. japonicum among humans, domestic animals and rodents, combined with detailed surveys of the snail intermediate host, was performed across 3 marshland villages and 3 hilly villages in Anhui province of China over 2 consecutive years. The highest infection prevalence and intensity observed across all mammals was in rodents in the hilly region; while in the marshland, bovines were suspected as the main reservoirs. However, relatively high infection prevalence levels were also found in dogs and cats in both regions. Such results may have implications for the current human- and bovine-oriented control policy for this medically and veterinarily important disease, particularly within the hilly regions of mainland China.

(Received March 05 2009)

(Revised May 05 2009)

(Revised June 11 2009)

(Revised June 30 2009)

(Accepted July 10 2009)

(Online publication September 02 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College (St Mary's Campus), Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK. Tel: +020 7594 3819. Fax: +020 7402 3927. E-mail: dabing.lu@imperial.ac.uk

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