River Prawn New Weapon Against Schistosomiasis


International research team and its Senegalese partner, Espoir Pour la Santé, a non-governmental biomedical research center, stock a river access point with prawns. (Photo: Susanne Sokolow)

River Prawn New Weapon Against Schistosomiasis

River prawns can be an effective weapon in the fight against the deadly parasitic disease, schistosomiasis. Stanford University researchers say that is because the 30-centimeter long crustaceans prey on parasite-infected snails, but do not transmit the disease themselves.


Schistosomiasis infects about 230 million people, mostly in Africa. They pick up the parasite when they go into a river to bathe or do laundry. The only treatment is a costly drug that is not widely available.

An international research team stocked a river in Senegal with prawns, which, in addition to eating the parasite-infected snails, provide a source of marketable protein-rich food. After 18 months, the researchers found 80 percent fewer infected snails and the burden of disease in a nearby village lower by half.

In reporting their study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say this approach has four major benefits: controlling disease, restoring biodiversity, alleviating poverty and improving nutrition.

River Prawn New Weapon Against Schistosomiasis River Prawn New Weapon Against Schistosomiasis Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 6:25 PM Rating: 5

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