I was reading wikipedia.org and schistosomiasis caught my eye. It's a potentially lethal and thoroughly unfun disease that anyone who touches infected water can catch. The parasite that causes schistosomiasis lives inside Biomphalaria, Bulinus, and Oncomelania snails, which I looked up, and are ramshorn, pond snails, and spiral pond snails (common names). This disease is rated by the CDC as the second most important parasitic disease to global health after malaria. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schistosomiasis
My point is this:
1. I have those snails in my aquarium
2. Those snails can carry the parasite, which means any water infected snails live in can get people sick if they touch the water
3. I touch my aquarium water every week when I clean the tank.
Understandably concerned, I proceeded to check on the global infection rates. It looks like the majority of the people who are sick get sick in Africa. But this still worries me. It would only take one infected snail to make my aquarium hazardous to my health, even potentially lethal. Also, the worms are 10 mm long. Ew.
What is keeping us fishkeepers who don't live in Africa so safe? Why aren't there any cases of schistosomiasis outside of that continent? I mean, the snails in our aquariums originated in Africa, where the pathogen lives. Why aren't we getting sick? Does anyone have any ideas?