DOI: 10.3390/pathogens13030245 ISSN: 2076-0817

Canine Schistosomiasis in the West Coast: Heterobilharzia americana in Two Natural Intermediate Hosts Found in the Colorado River, California

Anil Baniya, Connor J. Goldy, Jiranun Ardpairin, Perla Achi, Yu Wei Chang, Rose C. Adrianza, Apichat Vitta, Adler R. Dillman
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Allergy

The emergence of infectious diseases presents a significant global health, economic, and security risk. Climate change can unexpectedly lead to the spread of pathogens, vectors, or hosts into new areas, contributing to the rise of infectious diseases. Surveillance plays a crucial role in monitoring disease trends and implementing control strategies. In this study, we document the first discovery of Heterobilharzia americana, a parasitic schistosome of mammals and its intermediate hosts Galba cubensis and Galba humilis along the banks of the Colorado River in California. We conducted multiple samplings of snails from various locations in the region with a previous history of canine schistosomiasis. Nucleotide sequencing of the multiple regions of the snails’ and parasites’ DNA revealed the coexistence of G. cubensis and G. humilis, both infected with H. americana. Phylogenetic analyses further validate the presence of H. americana in California, suggesting a wider distribution than previously reported. Our findings have implications for public health, veterinary medicine, and biodiversity conservation, contributing to developing effective control strategies to prevent the spread of this emerging infectious disease.

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