Alharbi, M.H.; Iravoga, C.; Kayuni, S.A.; Cunningham, L.; LaCourse, E.J.; Makaula, P.; Stothard, J.R. First Molecular Identification of Bulinus africanus in Lake Malawi Implicated in Transmitting Schistosoma Parasites. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis.2022, 7, 195.
Alharbi, M.H.; Iravoga, C.; Kayuni, S.A.; Cunningham, L.; LaCourse, E.J.; Makaula, P.; Stothard, J.R. First Molecular Identification of Bulinus africanus in Lake Malawi Implicated in Transmitting Schistosoma Parasites. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2022, 7, 195.
The freshwater snail genus Bulinus plays a vital role in transmitting parasites of the Schistosoma haematobium group. A hybrid schistosome between S. haematobium and S. mattheei has been recently detected using DNA-based identification methods in school children along the Lake Malawi shoreline in Mangochi District. This finding raised the need for contemporary revaluation of local interactions between schistosomes and snails, with a particular focus on snail species within the Bulinus africanus group. In 2017 and 2018, malacological surveys sampled several freshwater sites in Mangochi District. Collected snails (n= 250) were characterised using cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene (cox1), with DNA barcoding of the ‘Folmer’ region and a rapid PCR-RFLP typing assay with double digestion with HaeIII and SacI restriction enzymes. DNA cox1 sequence analysis, with phylogenetic tree construction, suggested the presence of at least three Bu. africanus group taxa in Lake Malawi, Bu. globosus, alongside first reports of Bu. africanus and Bu. angolensis, which can be differentiated by PCR-RFLP methods. In addition, A total of 30 of the 106 Bu. africanus group snails (28.30%) were positive to the Schistosoma-specific screen using real-time PCR methods. This study provides new insight into the recent changes in the epidemiology of urogenital schistosomiasis as likely driven by a new diversity of Bu. africanus group snails within the lake
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