Natural and human induced factors influencing the abundance of Schistosoma host snails in Zambia

Concillia Monde*, Stephen Syampungani, Paul J. van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Schistosomiasis remains a global public health problem affecting about 240 million people. In Zambia, 2 million are infected while 3 million live with the risk of getting infected. Research and interventions relating to schistosomiasis are mainly linked to disease epidemiology. Malacological and ecological aspects of the disease are superficially understood. Developing effective control measures requires an understanding of interacting environmental and socioeconomic factors of host snails vis-a-vis schistosomiasis. Therefore, the present work involved collecting social and environmental data in a large field study in two zones in Zambia that are different in terms of temperature and rainfall amounts. Social data collected through questionnaires included demographic, educational and knowledge of schistosomiasis disease dynamics. Environmental data included physicochemical factors, aquatic plants and snails. Gender (P <0.001) significantly influences livelihood strategies, while age (P = 0.069) and level of education (P = 0.086) have a moderate influence in zone I. In zone III, none of these factors (age, P = 0.378; gender, P = 0.311; education, P = 0.553) play a significant role. Environmental parameters explained 43 and 41 % variation in species composition for zones I and III, respectively. Most respondents’ (52 %, 87 %) perception is that there are more cases of bilharzia in hot season than in other seasons (rainy season 23 %, 7 %; cold season 8 %, 0 % and year round 17 %, 6 %) for zone I and zone III, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number370
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume188
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Host snails
  • Malacological
  • Schistosomiasis

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