Schistosomiasis Control in Ethiopia: The Role of Snail Mapping in Endemic Communities

Asrat Meleko, Sarah Li, Dorin Brener Turgeman, Michal Bruck, Nisan Z. Kesete, Willemijn Zaadnoordijk, David Rollinson, Galia Sabar, Zvi Bentwich, Rachel Golan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD), remains a public health problem in Ethiopia. Freshwater snails, acting as intermediate hosts, release cercariae, the infectious parasite, into the water, which penetrate human skin that encounters infested waters. The objective of this study was to map snail abundance along rivers and study its association with schistosomiasis infection in communities using these rivers. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at 20 river sites in Mizan Aman city administration, Bench Sheko zone, South West Ethiopia Peoples (SWEP) region, Ethiopia, to study the distribution of host snails and transmission sites for intestinal schistosomiasis. This study used a quantitative database consisting of data on the prevalence of infected snails, the characteristics of rivers and riverbanks, and the prevalence of schistosomiasis in the community, based on stool samples collected from community members near the sampling sites. Results: Aquatic snails were found in 11 of the 20 sites sampled. A total of 598 snails was collected, including Biomphalaria pfeifferi, Biomphalaria sudanica, Radix natalensis and Bulinus globosus species; the most abundant species was Biomphalaria pfeifferi. Stool samples were collected from 206 community members from all 20 sites. Forty-one (19.9%) were positive for Schistosoma mansoni. A positive correlation was found between the presence of snails and positive stool samples (r = 0.60, p = 0.05) and between the presence of infected snails and the prevalence of infection (r = 0.64, p = 0.03). Locations with muddy riverbanks were associated with the presence of snails (r = 0.81, p < 0.001). Conclusions: These results emphasize the importance of mapping snails for the control of schistosomiasis by defining hotspots of infection and identifying factors associated with the presence of infected snails. The results support the need for a continuous mapping of snails and the introduction of snail control as a major element for the successful control of schistosomiasis in endemic communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number272
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Ethiopia
  • cercariae
  • neglected tropical diseases
  • schistosomiasis
  • snail mapping

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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