Ex Situ Evaluation of Beeswax-Based Cercarial Trapping: A Collection Tool for Environmental Surveillance of Schistosoma japonicum

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Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease that affects over 230 million people worldwide, burdening populations in the margins in countries like the Philippines. Despite the utility of environmental detection methods such as polymerase chain reaction assay, it remains difficult to collect adequate DNA samples from large bodies of water. Hence, studies about the development of cercarial traps for reliable environmental surveillance have become an emerging focus in research, with beeswax being a material of interest as a cercarial attractant. This study investigated the effect of supplemental trap attractants on Schistosoma japonicum cercarial attachment. Three trapping media were prepared using plain beeswax, beeswax with olive oil, and beeswax with pifithrin-µ. Cercariae were collected from crushed Oncomelania hupensis quadrasi snails and then distributed to each trap, with different trapping media, and exposed ex situ for 2 h. The presence of attached cercariae was determined using microscopy. Afterward, data on the cercarial capture percentage (CCP) and cercarial attachment grade (CAG) of the three attractants were recorded and analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. Results showed that beeswax with pifithrin-µ recorded the highest mean CCP (83.20%). Cercarial attachment in beeswax with olive oil demonstrated the highest attachment with only the head (22.86%), whereas the whole cercariae could be seen attached in most of the traps containing beeswax with pifithrin-µ (99.04%). This study has proven that beeswax-based cercarial traps could be a useful collection tool for the environmental surveillance of schistosomiasis in endemic areas.