Species hybridisation and interactions in schistosomes in Cameroon (SHIS-CAM): Targeting biological research to accelerate elimination of schistosomiasis in Central Africa

Year of award: 2023


  • Prof Jêrome Boissier

    Universite De Perpignan, France

  • Prof Louis-Albert Tchuem Tchuenté

    Centre for Schistosomiasis and Parasitology, Cameroon

  • Dr Alexandra Juhasz

    Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

  • Prof Russell Stothard

    Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

Project summary

Even though Cameroon has been at the forefront of successful schistosomiasis control nationwide, we have recently documented worrisome levels of parasite cross-species interactions, hybridisations and genetic diversity. This exposes key knowledge gaps in effective management of emerging hybrid-schistosomes, raising disruptive concerns that unsettle progress within the WHO-NTD Roadmap 2021-2030. SHIS-CAM (species hybridisation and interactions in schistosomes in Cameroon) addresses these concerns with an ambitious investigation that provides fresh epidemiological insight with scientific clarity, about long-term impacts of hybrid schistosomes. Fostering a new cross-country One Health collaboration, our three interlinked primary objectives [% allocation, implementation years] will: Obj-1 [15%, years 1-3]; determine the national magnitude and respective epidemiology of hybrid schistosomes in humans and livestock, specifically referencing the S. haematobium group, and prior epidemiological assessments of urogenital and intestinal schistosomiasis. Obj-2 [60%, years 2-8]; verify, in a 5-year longitudinal population study offering biannual preventive chemotherapy, if the emergence of hybrids continues without sufficient abate, alongside noting any significant infection shifts by age or gender, in host morbidity and treatment efficacy. Obj-3 [25%, years 2-8]; explore new environmental transmission surveillance frameworks and experimental infections, referencing livestock GPS-mapping, aquatic habitat profiling with advanced eDNA-metabarcoding, collectively tracking pertinent schistosome and snail signatures, and cross-interactions.