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Agents of swimmer’s itch—dangerous minority in the Digenea invasion of Lymnaeidae in water bodies and the first report of Trichobilharzia regenti in Poland

Marszewska, Anna, Strzała, Tomasz, Cichy, Anna, Dąbrowska, Grażyna B., Żbikowska, Elżbieta
Parasitology research 2018 v.117 no.12 pp. 3695-3704
Lymnaeidae, Schistosoma, Trichobilharzia szidati, birds, genes, humans, lakes, monitoring, nose, parasites, ribosomal DNA, skin diseases, snails, summer, surface water, vegetation, Poland
Trichobilharzia spp. have been identified as a causative agent of swimmers’ itch, a skin disease provoked by contact with these digenean trematodes in water. These parasites have developed a number of strategies to invade vertebrates. Since we have little understanding of the behavior of these parasites inside the human body, the monitoring of their invasion in snail host populations is highly recommended. In our research, lymnaeid snails were collected from several Polish lakes for two vegetation seasons. The prevalence of bird schistosomes in snail host populations was significantly lower than that of other digenean species. We were the first to detect the presence of the snails emitted Trichobilharzia regenti (potentially the most dangerous nasal schistosome) in Poland. In addition, by sequencing partial rDNA genes, we confirmed the presence of the snails positive with Trichobilharzia szidati in Polish water bodies, showing that swimmer’s itch is more frequent during summer months and that large snails are more often infected with bird schistosomes than small ones.