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Analysing molluscs to better understand schistosomiasis
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Deepening knowledge on schistosomiasis, a debilitating disease in Angola, and specifically on the molluscs responsible for its transmission, represent the core objectives of the study "Transmission of schistosomiasis in Angola: a malacological study and molecular categorisation of the mollusc species", undertaken in a partnership with the London Museum of Natural History, the Neglected Tropical Disease Program of the Ministry of Health of Angola and CISA - the Centre of Health Research in Angola. The study involved the collection of around 500 molluscs from 58 different bodies of water in order to determine the presence and identity of the intermediate hosts in Northwest Angola.

In the provinces of Bengo, Luanda, Kwanza Norte and Malanje, infection by Schistosoma haematobium, causing urogenital schistosomiasis, is very common, with very little scientific information available on the relationship between the respective disease transmission mechanisms. Thus far, the molluscs of Angola have never been subject to analysis according to modern methods of molecular categorisation.

The project contains the objective of gathering new and important mollusc samples from a series of hydric resources and from different geographic points before then submitting the samples to molecular analysis. In doing this, the project expects to identify the respective species of Bulinus actually existing in Angola and detail the new molecular markers in order to securely ascertain the identification of the species.

This project fostered the opportunity for debate between the different research institutions and the Ministry on the research and control of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Angola while also serving as a training facet, deepening local capacities for identifying molluscs and studying the transmission of schistosomiasis as well as in molecular biology.

 

 
 
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