Predicting the spatial distribution of Biomphalaria straminea, a potential intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni, in China

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Mohamed R. Habib
Yun-Hai Guo
Shan Lv
Wen-Biao Gu
Xiao-Heng Li
Xiao-Nong Zhou *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Xiao-Nong Zhou | zhouxn1@chinacdc.cn

Abstract

Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases impacting human health in the tropics and sub-tropics. The geographic distribution of Schistosoma mansoni, the most widespread species, includes areas in Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean. Snails of the genus Biomphalaria act as intermediate host for S. mansoni. Biomphalaria straminea is not indigenous in China but was accidentally introduced to Hong Kong from South America and has spread to other habitats in the southern parts of the country. This species is known for its great dispersal capacity that highlights the importance of the snail as a potential host for S. mansoni in China. In this connection, although no such infection has been recorded in the field so far, the continuous expansion of China’s projects in endemic areas of Africa and import of the infection via returning workers or visitors deserve attention. The purpose of this study was to map and predict the spatial distribution of B. straminea in China. Snail occurrence data were assembled and investigated using MaxEnt software, along with climatic and environmental variables to produce a predictive risk map. Of the environmental variables tested, the precipitation of warmest quarter was the most contribution factor for snail’s spatial distribution. Risk areas were found in southeastern China and it is expected that they will guide policies and control programmes to potential areas area of snail abundance and used for spatial targeting of control interventions for this invasive species.

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