Transmission networks of novel zoonotic hybrid schistosomes in West Africa.


The major aim of this trans-disciplinary project is to elucidate the complex dynamics of novel zoonotic hybrid schistosomiasis transmission in West Africa using cutting edge genetics, genomics, GPS and UAV video tracking of host and social network modelling.  We predict that recent and on-going anthropogenic changes, combined with shifts in human demography and animal husbandry, will lead to increased opportunities for inter-specific parasite interactions and pairings between human and livestock schistosome species resulting in introgressions and the establishment of novel zoonotic hybrids.   This in turn will change the host range, force of transmission level, and efficacy of disease control programmes. 


1)                            King, K.C.*, Stelkens, R.B.*, Webster, J.P.*, Smith, D.F. & Brockhurst, M.A. (2015).  Hybridization in parasites: consequences for adaptive evolution, pathogenesis and public health in a changing world.    PLoS Pathogens. 11(9): e1005098, 1-12.   doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005098   IF 8.06       * Joint first author


1)                            Webster, J.P., Borlase, A.M. & Rudge, J.W. (2016). Who acquires infection from whom, and how? - disentangling multi-host and multi-mode transmission dynamics in the ‘elimination’ era.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London Series B (Biological Sciences).    IF 7.055


1)                            Webster, J.P., Molyneux, D. & Hotez, P.J. & Fenwick, A. (2014).  The contribution of mass drug administration to global health – past, present and future.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London Series B (Biological Sciences). 20130434.  IF 6.230


1)                            Rudge, J.W., Webster, J.P., Lu, D-B., Wang, T-P., Fang, G-R., Basanez, M-G. (2013). Identifying host species driving transmission of schistosomiasis japonica, a multi-host parasite system, in China.  PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  110.  11457-11462.  (Direct submission). PMC3710859 IF 9.737


Haddadi H, King A, Wills A, Fay D, Lowe J, Morton J, Hailes S, & Wilson A.  (2011) Determining association networks in social animals: choosing spatial-temporal criteria and sampling rates. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 65: 8: 1659-1668. IF 2.752

Biological Areas:



Animal disease, health and welfare