Humidity and temperature have been considered important factors affecting the infectivity of Fasciola hepatica to its molluscan host. One hundred and thirty laboratory-reared Lymnaea humilis were exposed for 4 hr to the miracidia of F. hepatica over a pH range from 4.0 to 10.0, and their rates of survival were compared with 130 similarly treated but unexposed control snails. All control snails died within 24 hr at pH 4.0, but they showed better survival at pH 5.0–10.0. Their sensitivity to solutions with high and low pH, however, was increased if kept in the presence of F. hepatica miracidia. Snails exposed at pH 5.0 died within 24 hr, whereas most other pHs also affected survival such that by day 18 only those snails exposed at pH 7.2 remained alive. The increased sensitivity of the snails to pH could be explained by a damage-mediated release of parasite enzymes, because infectivity was highest at pHs associated with the lowest host mortality.
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