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Papers of the Week

2022 May 10




Simplifying Schistosome Surveillance: Using Molecular Cercariometry to Detect and Quantify Cercariae in Water.


McPhail BA, Froelich K, Reimink RL, Hanington PC
Pathogens. 2022 May 10; 11(5).
PMID: 35631086.


Avian schistosomes are considered a public health nuisance due to their ability to cause swimmer's itch when accidentally encountering humans rather than their intended avian hosts. Researchers have been monitoring their presence and abundance through snail collections and cercariometry. Cercariometry methods have evolved over the last several decades to detect individual schistosome species from a single water sample, simplifying the monitoring of these parasites. This methodological evolution coincides with the development of the field of environmental DNA (eDNA) where genetic material is extracted from environmental samples, rather than individual organisms. While there are some limitations with using molecular cercariometry, notably the cost and its inability to differentiate between life cycle stages, it substantially reduces the labor required to study trematode populations. It also can be used in complement with snail collections to understand the composition of avian schistosomes in an environment.