Regular treatments of praziquantel do not impact on the genetic make-up of Schistosoma mansoni in northern Senegal

T. Huyse, F. Van den Broeck, T. Jombart, B.L. Webster, O. Diaw, F.A. Volckaert, F. Balloux, D. Rollinson, K. Polman

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    The Senegal River Basin (SRB) experienced a major epidemic of intestinal schistosomiasis in the early nineties, after the construction of a dam for irrigation purposes. Exceptionally low cure rates following praziquantel (PZQ) treatment at the onset of the epidemic raised concerns about PZQ resistant strains of Schistosoma mansoni, although they could also be attributed to the intense transmission at that time. A field study in the same region more than 15 years later found cure rates for Schistosoma mansoni still to be low, whereas S. haematobium responded well to treatment. We collected S. mansoni miracidia from children at base-line prior to treatment, six months after two PZQ treatments and two years after the start of the study when they had received a total of five PZQ treatments. In total, 434 miracidia from 12 children were successfully genotyped with at least six out of nine DNA microsatellite loci. We found no significant differences in the genetic diversity of, and genetic differentiation between parasite populations before and after repeated treatment, suggesting that PZQ treatment does not have an impact on the neutral evolution of the parasite. This is in stark contrast with a similar study in Tanzania where a significant decrease in genetic diversity was observed in S. mansoni miracidia after a single round of PZQ treatment. We argue that PZQ resistance might play a role in our study area, although rapid re-infection cannot be excluded. It is important to monitor this situation carefully and conduct larger field studies with short-term follow-up after treatment. Since PZQ is the only general schistosomicide available, the possibility of PZQ resistance is of great concern both for disease control and for curative use in clinical practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
    Pages (from-to)100-105
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Helminthic diseases
    • Schistosomiasis
    • Schistosoma mansoni
    • Snails
    • Epidemics
    • Mass treatment
    • Children
    • Praziquantel
    • Impact
    • Genetic diversity
    • Differentiation
    • Reinfection
    • Parasite egg count
    • Follow up studies
    • Senegal
    • Africa-West


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