Updates‎ > ‎

2019-07-22. How fat prawns can save lives.

posted Jul 28, 2019, 11:36 AM by Alan Gould
By Kara Manke, UC Berkeley News. [https://news.berkeley.edu/2019/07/22/how-fat-prawns-can-save-lives/] For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 8. Excerpt: Before bite-sized crustaceans like crayfish, shrimp and prawns land on our dinner plates, they first have to get fat themselves — and it turns out they relish the freshwater snails that transmit the parasite that causes schistosomiasis, the second most devastating parasitic disease worldwide, after malaria. New research led by University of California, Berkeley, scientists provides a roadmap for how entrepreneurs can harness freshwater prawns’ voracious appetite for snails to reduce the transmission of these parasites, also known as “blood flukes,” while still making a profit selling the tasty animals as food. ...Schistosomiasis, also known as “snail fever,” affects around 250 million people a year and kills as many as 200,000. The disease is primarily spread when people come in contact with contaminated water. While drugs are available to treat the disease, they’re not enough in some settings. Because drug treatments only address the human component of the parasite’s transmission cycle, people are left vulnerable to reinfection, even soon after treatment. By acting on the environmental component of the transmission cycle — the intermediate host snail population — prawn-based interventions can complement drug treatment, yielding greater population benefits. ...Prawns may have environmental benefits, as well, including substituting for chemical pesticides to control snail populations and restoring native biodiversity in areas where native prawn species have been decimated by dams....