Well, field-season might officially be over - but the snails seem not to care. Today we collected plenty Galba truncatula from field with Fasciola hepatica infected cattle - highest numbers was in found: ....inside watering trough!
..so does the fieldwork season.
This summer has been a lot fun (and head-aches!), searching for the elusive Galba truncatula, intermediate host for the liver fluke in Denmark. It turns out that it is not as easy to spot, as we could have hoped. After spending many weeks in rubber-boots, crawling on muddy ditches, I decided to try a new means of sampling: the canoe!
Why do we have better global data on birds than we do on human pathogens? A picture is more than a thousands words, read for yourself in Nature Ecology and Evolution @ http://rdcu.be/tDtU
I recently submitted an application to the JRS biodiversity Foundation for a project to enhance the monitoring and understanding of African freshwater mollusk biodiversity... One of the problems we want to address, is that collection of new data for future surveys to monitor freshwater snail biodiversity, as well as the sorting of unprocessed historical samples, is hampered by a lack of an adequate cadre of trained molluscan taxonomists. This is partly due to an aging/retiring taxonomic capacity for freshwater molluscs. Training of a new generation of researchers and biodiversity managers is also challenging, because existing ID tools & field guides either are not available anymore or they are outdated: Most of the existing keys and identification publications were published in the period from the 1960’s to 1990’s and predate much of the efforts in molecular taxonomy, as well as some new species descriptions. Nonetheless - as a first step - we can make existing material available. Luckily, Henry Madsen recently scanned all the field guides of the former WHO Snail Identification Centre, The Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, and uploaded them to the University of Copenhagen's web-site. These field guides to snail identification in North East Africa, East Africa, South East Africa and Central Africa have been valuable tools in determining sources of schistosomiasis infection and other snail-borne parasites, and we hope they will be useful to future researchers in the field. You can download them right here: http://ivs.ku.dk/english/research/about_parasitology_and_aquatic_diseases/parasitology-the-environments/field-guides/
Just out, what looks like very comprehensive piece of work covering all aspects within Schistosoma Biology, Pathology and control - even has a chapter on Paleopathology. And a whole chapter dedicated to describing the range of intermediate host snails species, their importance for transmission dynamics and not least of snail control as an important component in interrupting transmission, by our very own Henry Madsen :-) Look forward to digging into this!
New Danish research collaboration to investigate effects of climate change on snail-borne parasites
PARASITES A new research platform is going to shed light on how climate change affects the spread of freshwater snails and their parasites. The platform will be based at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, and will provide a new framework for researcher to develop cross-disciplinary collaborative projects. The platform is supported by a grant of DKK 2.4 mill from the Danish Knud Højgaards Foundation over the next three years.
Link to full press release here: http://macroecology.ku.dk/media/news_list/2017/new-danish-research-collaboration-to-investigate-effect-of-climate-change-on-snail-borne-parasites/
Our paper on large-scale determinants of schistosomiasis in Africa has received a highly cited research certificate by Acta Tropica. Yeah, well-done everybody :)
Ecological Drivers of Mansonella perstans Infection in Uganda and Patterns of Co-endemicity with Lymphatic Filariasis and Malaria: new paper out in ploSNTD
Temperature, forest cover and cattle predict the risk of being infected with Mansonella perstans in Uganda... Also, this species of parasite has a geographical range that very distinct from another filarial worm, Wuchereria bancrofti, in Uganda. Yet, where they do overlap, there is a positive association between the two species.. I find that quite intriguing.
Stensgaard et al., 2016 - PloSNTD
Here is some from press release..
Snail fever expected to decline in Africa due to climate change
RESEARCH The dangerous parasite Schistosoma mansoni that causes snail fever in humans could become significantly less common in the future a new international study led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen predicts. The results are surprising because they contradict the general assumption that climate change leads to greater geographical spread of diseases. The explanation is that the parasite’s host snails stand to lose suitable habitat due to climate change.