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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Initial Assessment of Rates of Cercariae Infections in Host Snail Populations

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AUTHORS: Nathaniel Akey, Biology Department Grand Valley State University; Mark Luttenton, Biology Department Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT: Schistosomiasis (swimmer’s itch) is caused by a parasitic trematode that involves snails as the intermediate host.  Assessing the potential occurrence of swimmer’s itch infections during the recreational season is linked to the abundance of snails and the percentage of snails infected.  We assessed the percentage of snails infected in Higgins Lake, MI which had experienced significant outbreaks of swimmer’s itch in recent years.  Snail infection rates ranged from 0% to over 7% during the summer. Infection rates peaked in early June and again in early August which may correspond to the seasonal presence of the terminal host (common mergansers).  Rates dropped slightly in late June, a period when the parasites are likely to exit the snail host in search of a terminal host.  We suggest that snail infection rates provide a reasonable estimate of the presence of schistosome parasites present in a system and may indicate the risk of swimmer’s itch in a given summer.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom