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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 250868, 4 pages
Review Article

Indian Schistosomes: A Need for Further Investigations

1Department of Parasitology, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Jabalpur 482 001, India
2Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals, Indian Council of Medical Research, Nagpur Road, P.O. Garha, Jabalpur 482 003, India

Received 27 July 2011; Accepted 8 September 2011

Academic Editor: Bernard Marchand

Copyright © 2011 M. C. Agrawal and V. G. Rao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


India is uniquely positioned with regard to schistosomes and schistosomiasis—discovering seven new mammalian species with the existence of three more schistosome species: Orientobilharzia turkestanicum, O. harinasutai, and Schistosoma haematobium(?). An endemic focus of urinary schistosomiasis was reported from Gimvi village of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra with infrequent occurrence of schistosome eggs in human stools. Cercarial dermatitis has been reported to be more abundant in rural population using ponds, tanks, and so forth, for their domestic purposes. Few dermatitis cases were tested positive by CHR. Schistosome antigen was also detected in urine of five cases suggesting existence of active schistosomiasis in India. Nevertheless, human kind does not appear to be the usual host for Indian schistosomes in contrast to S. haematobium, S. mansoni, or S. japonicum. Various reasons for this phenomenon are discussed including evolution of Indian schistosomes, immune mechanisms, and environmental conditions. These and other aspects such as seasonal effect on the prevalence, snail infectivity, heterologous mating, existence of hybrids, and number of schistosomes in heterologous infections need further investigations with application of molecular techniques. Joint efforts by the national as well as international scientific community would be much more rewarding for better understanding of the parasite and the infection.