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Schistosoma japonicum is an important parasite in terms of clinical, veterinary and socio-economic impacts, and rodents, a long neglected reservoir for the parasite, have recently been found to act as reservoir hosts in some endemic areas of China. Any difference in the host's biological characteristics and/or associated living habitats among rodents may result in different environments for parasites, possibly resulting in a specific population structure of parasites within hosts. Therefore knowledge of the genetic structure of parasites within individual rodents could improve our understanding of transmission dynamics and hence our ability to develop effective control strategies. In this study, we aimed to describe a host-specific structure for S. japonicum and its potential influencing factors. The results showed a significant genetic differentiation among hosts. Two factors, including sampling seasons and the number of miracidia genotyped per host, showed an effect on the genetic diversity of an infrapopulation through a univariable analysis but not a multivariable analysis. A possible scenario of clustered infection foci and the fact of multiple definitive host species, the latter of which is unique to S. japonicum compared with other schistosomes, were proposed to explain the observed results and practical implications for control strategies are recommended.

Original publication




Journal article


International journal for parasitology

Publication Date





1371 - 1376


Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, School of Public Health, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China.


Animals, Rodentia, Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosomiasis japonica, Rodent Diseases, Microsatellite Repeats, China, Female, Male, Genetic Variation, Host Specificity