Human Schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico: Reduced Prevalence Rate and Absence of Biomphalaria glabrata

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  • San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Caguas, Puerto Rico

A combined epidemiologic and malacologic survey of schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico was carried out in areas where previous surveys had reported the prevalence of the disease. This limited survey, with 495 persons examined, found a low prevalence (0.6%) of Schistosoma mansoni infections. The infections were restricted to three people more than 36 years of age. No infections were detected in children 16 years of age or less, and this cohort comprised 57.8% of the study group. Malacologic surveys of the four streams, 10 rivers, and eight lakes throughout the island revealed the absence of intermediate host Biomphalaria glabrata and the presence of Thiara granifera, a competitive species of B. glabrata and the predatory snail Marisa cornuarietis. We believe that the absence of B. glabrata is the primary reason for the sustained reduction in the prevalence of schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico.

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