Schistosomiasis is becoming more persistent because of the widespread distribution of intermediate host snails in several regions of Africa, including Senegal. The intermediate snail host of the human intestinal schistosome is Biomphalaria pfeifferi and is permanently present in northern Senegal because of the presence of the abundant freshwater habitat throughout the year. Here, we observed the seasonal variation in B. pfeifferi abundance in the Saint-louis region at the North of Senegal in West Africa. We performed snail and environmental parameter sampling across two different seasons described for Senegal: a dry season that runs roughly from mid-October to mid-June and a rainy season that spans approximately from late June to early October. We also split the dry season into two categories representing periods of time when water temperatures were either decreasing (dry1) or increasing (dry2). We used regression analyses to model snail density across the seasons and investigated which environmental variables influenced snail abundance. Results suggested that snails were more abundant and peaked during the rainy season, which lowest abundances during the dry season when temperatures were declining. The above seasonal variations of snail density were positively linked to the environmental drivers including periphyton (food resource for snails), aquatic vegetation abundance, water temperature and dissolved oxygen and negatively to both pH and water conductivity. Our findings may be useful for snail control efforts by targeting specific periods and/or site conditions when snail abundances are greatest.
Part of the book: Update on Malacology