A survey of freshwater and terrestrial snails in a predominantly urban municipality of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, with emphasis on human parasites vectors


Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo




ABSTRACT Many snail species act as intermediate hosts of helminths that transmit diseases to humans and animals, such as schistosomiasis and angiostrongyliasis. São Gonçalo, a mostly urban municipality in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, has undergone fundamental environmental impacts, which favor the establishment of a range of diseases, for which snails act as the intermediate hosts of the etiological agents. In the present study, freshwater and terrestrial snail populations were surveyed in different environments within five city districts, and the presence of helminths was determined in the collected specimens. A total of 287 individuals were collected, six species from freshwater environment, Pomacea sp. (Ampullariidae), Melanoides tuberculata (Thiaridae), Biomphalaria tenagophila (Planorbidae), Dysopeas muibum (Subulinidae), Physa marmorata, and Physa acuta (Physidae), and two from terrestrial environment, Achatina fulica (Achatinidae) and Bradybaena similaris (Bradybaenidae). Snails were found in only two districts, Centro, an urban area, and Ipiiba, a rural area. Thirteen percent of the specimens of A. fulica eliminated larvae of the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis. None of the analyzed freshwater snails contained helminths.The most abundant and frequent snails were B. tenagophila, M. tuberculataand A. fulica, and the latter two species are exotic. The disturbance and degradation of natural areas adjacent to residential zones favor the proliferation of helminths, jeopardizing the local residents health. The abundance of A. fulica and B. tenagophila in the study area reinforces the need for a continuous and systematic monitoring of the snail fauna in this region.

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