Effects of Environmental Factors and Infecting Trematodes on the Size and Inorganic Elements of Bithynia siamensis goniomphalos Snails in Northeast Thailand

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  • 1 Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore;
  • | 2 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand;
  • | 3 Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand

Infection with the foodborne trematode, Opisthorchis viverrini, is a major public health issue in southeast Asia. The freshwater snail, Bithynia siamensis goniomphalos, is an intermediate host of O. viverrini and other trematode species. Understanding the effects of environmental conditions and infecting trematodes on B.s. goniomphalos snails is thus crucial for the potential influences on trematode transmission. This study measured environmental variables of water and soil properties, and analyzed B.s. goniomphalos snails for their trematode infection, snail shell length, and inorganic elemental concentration, from 30 localities in northeast Thailand. The results showed that prevalence of trematode infection in B.s. goniomphalos was 3.82%. Nine types of trematode cercariae were identified, with virgulate type 1 as the most common (1.23%). Opisthorchis viverrini-infected snails were mostly found in low-humic gley soils in Sakon Nakhon Province, and were associated with water dissolved oxygen and soil pH. Compared with uninfected snails, larger sizes were observed in virgulate type 1 and pleurolophocerca-infected snails, whereas hypercalcification was noticed in virgulate type 1, virgulate type 3, and pleurolophocerca-infected snails. Infected snails were more sensitive toward environmental conditions, possibly because of the dynamic parasitic processes between trematodes and hosts. Among the environmental factors, soil texture (i.e., sand, silt, and clay compositions) exhibited more significant correlations with B.s. goniomphalos shell characteristics regardless of the trematode infection types. The findings of this study underscore the need to consider the effects of environmental conditions and trematode species-specific pathogenic processes for a more effective and sustainable parasitic control and prevention effort.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Yi-Chen Wang, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570, Singapore. E-mail: geowyc@nus.edu.sg

Financial support: The project is supported by the National University of Singapore through the Academic Research Fund (Grant Number: FY2017-FRC3-008, WBS: R-109-000-235-115).

Authors’ addresses: Yi-Chen Wang, Siew Ping Yeo, and Shuhan Yang, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore, E-mails: geowyc@nus.edu.sg, yeosiewping@gmail.com, and yangshuhanaz@163.com. Jutamas Namsanor, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore, and Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, E-mail: jutamas.namsanor@gmail.com. Paiboon Sithithaworn, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, E-mail: paibsit@gmail.com.

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