To reduce the global burden of human schistosomiasis, use ‘old fashioned’ snail control

Sokolow, SHW, Chelsea L.; Jones, Isabel J.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand; Hsieh, Michael H.; De Leo, Giulio A.,  Trends in Parasitology,  34:23-40. 2018.

Control strategies to reduce human schistosomiasis have evolved from ‘snail picking’ campaigns, a century ago, to modern wide-scale human treatment campaigns, or preventive chemotherapy. Unfortunately, despite the rise in preventive chemotherapy campaigns, just as many people suffer from schistosomiasis today as they did 50 years ago. Snail control can complement preventive chemotherapy by reducing the risk of transmission from snails to humans. Here, we present ideas for modernizing and scaling up snail control, including spatiotemporal targeting, environmental diagnostics, better molluscicides, new technologies (e.g., gene drive), and ‘outside the box’ strategies such as natural enemies, traps, and repellants. We conclude that, to achieve the World Health Assembly’s stated goal to eliminate schistosomiasis, it is time to give snail control another look.