1 Royal Veterinary College, UK
DiscussionSchistosoma spp. are the causative agents of schistosomiasis, a prevalent, chronic and debilitating helminthic disease of humans and animals across much of the developing world. Schistosomiasis infects >240 million people with >750 million at risk of infection, >90% of which are within sub Saharan Africa. Goals to eliminate schistosomiasis have been recently articulated by the WHO in its roadmap for accelerating work to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and the London Declaration of the NTD coalition, pledging to contribute towards the elimination or control of schistosomiasis by the end of the decade. In order, however, for the feasibility of elimination to be assessed and optimum control strategies devised, an increased understanding of the transmission dynamics among potential animal reservoir hosts is paramount.
Our current research fully encompasses a One Health remit, where both human and veterinary medicine, together with the environment, are united. We aim to further our understanding of the basic biology and transmission dynamics of this key NTD. Such information will provide decision-makers and health services at both national and community levels with improved tools to target interventions. More generally our research should enhance our understanding of a wide spectrum of multi-host parasitic diseases of humans and animals, and in particular the role of evolution on host ranges and introgressions within major taxonomic groups, in our rapidly changing world.