Following from our pilot study in November 2021, HUGS has taken first steps to strengthen schistosomiasis surveillance in livestock; we have recently shown that adult worms of Schistosoma bovis and Schistosoma mattheei occur in cattle. Additionally, upon first application of molecular methods for schistosome larval identification, we have demonstrated their presence in local freshwater bullinid snails. As these veterinary schistosomes co-occur with Schistosoma haematobium, the presence of hybrid schistosomes in people is now starting to be better explained, confirming suspected zoonotic potentials. The latter highlights the need for our OneHealth approach, alongside developing new strategies for effective control. Shortly in July 2022, HUGS will be assessing the clinical importance and transmission dynamics of hybrid schistosomes within a forthcoming human longitudinal cohort.
The HUGS team will be presenting some of these findings at the Annual Conference of the British Society for Parasitology at York University, March 2022.