Modelled effects of prawn aquaculture on poverty alleviation and schistosomiasis control


Recent evidence suggests that snail predators may aid efforts to control the human parasitic disease schistosomiasis by eating aquatic snail species that serve as intermediate hosts of the parasite. Here, potential synergies between schistosomiasis control and aquaculture of giant prawns are evaluated using an integrated bioeconomic–epidemiological model. Combinations of stocking density and aquaculture cycle length that maximize cumulative, discounted profit are identified for two prawn species in sub-Saharan Africa: the endemic, non-domesticated Macrobrachium vollenhovenii and the non-native, domesticated Macrobrachium rosenbergii. At profit-maximizing densities, both M. rosenbergii and M. vollenhovenii may substantially reduce intermediate host snail populations and aid schistosomiasis control efforts. Control strategies drawing on both prawn aquaculture to reduce intermediate host snail populations and mass drug administration to treat infected individuals are found to be superior to either strategy alone. Integrated aquaculture-based interventions can be a win–win strategy in terms of health and sustainable development in schistosomiasis endemic regions of the world.

MIDAS Network Members

Jason Rohr

Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla College Professor of Biological Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences