1 Natural History Museum, UK
DiscussionSchistosomes are parasitic trematodes that cause Schistosomiasis, the most important water-borne Neglected Tropical Disease burdening and inflicting unnecessary suffering on many poor rural communities. 206.4 million people require treatment in 78 tropical and sub-tropical developing countries. Schistosomiasis is also a major disease of animals, affecting large numbers of domestic livestock worldwide.
There are 25 described schistosome species. Their two-host lifecycle includes an asexual stage in certain species of fresh water snails, governing their geographical distribution, and a sexual stage living in the blood vessels of species specific/preferred mammalian hosts. Asian schistosomiasis is highly zoonotic complicating control, whereas in Africa species specific host preferences exist. However, hybridisation between schistosome species is now frequently being reported across Africa, with the hybridisation between human and animal schistosomes raising