Joanne P Webster

Joanne P Webster
Imperial College London | Imperial · Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology

About

250
Publications
46,630
Reads
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12,377
Citations
Citations since 2017
70 Research Items
5361 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
Additional affiliations
October 2014 - present
Royal Veterinary College
Position
  • Professor of Parasitic Diseases
October 2003 - present
Imperial College London
Position
  • Professor of Parasitic Diseases; Director M&E SCI

Publications

Publications (250)
Article
Globally, stunting affects approximately 149.2 million children under 5 years of age. The underlying aetiology and pathophysiological mechanisms leading to stunting remain elusive, and therefore few effective treatment and prevention strategies exist. Crucial evidence directly linking parasites to stunting is often lacking - in part due to the comp...
Article
Full-text available
Prenatal infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii can cause congenital toxoplasmosis (CT), an often fatal or lifelong-disabling condition. Several studies of human populations have reported temporal decreases in seroprevalence, suggesting declining CT incidence. However, the consistency of this trend among diverse populations remains...
Article
Full-text available
The World Health Organization's revised NTD Roadmap and the newly launched Guidelines target elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem in all endemic areas by 2030. Key to meeting this goal is elucidating how selective pressures imposed by interventions shape parasite populations. Our aim was to identify any differential impact of a...
Article
Full-text available
Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease, is a widespread chronic helminthiasis reported in 78 countries, predominantly those within sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Latin America, Asia, and most recently, even Europe. Species of the causative blood fluke infect not only humans but also animals, and hybrids between previously assumed human-speci...
Preprint
Full-text available
Schistosomiasis is a major neglected tropical disease (NTD) affecting both humans and animals. The morbidity and mortality inflicted upon livestock in sub-Saharan Africa has been largely overlooked, in part due to a lack of validated sensitive and specific tests, which do not require specialist training or equipment to deliver and interpret. Inexpe...
Article
Full-text available
Hybridization between different species of parasites is increasingly being recognised as a major public and veterinary health concern at the interface of infectious diseases biology, evolution, epidemiology and ultimately control. Recent research has revealed that viable hybrids and introgressed lineages between Schistosoma spp. are prevalent acros...
Article
Full-text available
Background Reliable and field-applicable diagnosis of schistosome infections in non-human animals is important for surveillance, control, and verification of interruption of human schistosomiasis transmission. This study aimed to summarize uses of available diagnostic techniques through a systematic review and meta-analysis. Methodology and princi...
Article
Schistosomiasis is a helminthiasis infecting approximately 250 million people worldwide. In 2001, the World Health Assembly (WHA) 54.19 resolution defined a new global strategy for control of schistosomiasis through preventive chemotherapy programmes. This resolution culminated in the 2006 WHO guidelines that recommended empirical treatment by mass...
Preprint
Full-text available
The World Health Organization revised NTD Roadmap and its newly launched Guidelines target elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem in all endemic areas by 2030. Key to meeting this goal is elucidating how selective pressures imposed by interventions shape parasite populations. Our aim was to identify any differential impact of a u...
Article
Full-text available
The gut microbiome performs many important functions in mammalian hosts, with community composition shaping its functional role. However, the factors that drive individual microbiota variation in wild animals and to what extent these are predictable or idiosyncratic across populations remains poorly understood. Here, we use a multi-population datas...
Article
Full-text available
Background Schistosomiasis is a disease that poses major threats to human and animal health, as well as the economy, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Whilst many studies have evaluated the economic impact of schistosomiasis in humans, to date only one has been performed in livestock in SSA and none in Senegal. This study aimed to estimate th...
Article
Full-text available
Schistosoma mansoni, a snail‐borne, blood fluke that infects humans, was introduced into the Americas from Africa during the Trans‐Atlantic slave trade. As this parasite shows strong specificity to the snail intermediate host, we expected that adaptation to S. American Biomphalaria spp. snails would result in population bottlenecks and strong signa...
Article
Full-text available
The Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO, https://www.iddo.org ) has launched a clinical data platform for the collation, curation, standardisation and reuse of individual participant data (IPD) on treatments for two of the most globally important neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), schistosomiasis (SCH) and soil-transmitted helminthiases (ST...
Article
Full-text available
Mass drug administration with praziquantel (PZQ) monotherapy is considered the mainstay for control and elimination of the parasites causing schistosomiasis in humans. This drug shows imperfect cure rates in the field, and parasites showing reduced PZQ response can be selected in the laboratory, but the extent of resistance in Schistosoma mansoni p...
Article
Full-text available
The relevance of mustelids in SARS-CoV-2 transmission has become increasingly evident. Alongside experimental demonstration of airborne transmission among ferrets, the major animal model for human respiratory diseases, transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within and/or between commercial mink farms has occurred and continues to occur. The number of mink rear...
Preprint
Full-text available
Schistosoma mansoni, a snail-vectored blood fluke that infects humans, was introduced into the Americas from Africa during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. As this parasite shows strong specificity to the snail intermediate host, we expected that adaptation to S. American Biomphalaria spp. snails would result in population bottlenecks and strong sig...
Preprint
1. The gut microbiome performs many important functions in mammalian hosts, with community composition shaping its functional role. However, what factors drive individual microbiota variation in wild animals and to what extent these are predictable or idiosyncratic across populations remains poorly understood. 2. Here, we use a multi-population dat...
Article
Full-text available
Significance The threat to public health that is presented by zoonotic spillover of pathogens from animal reservoirs is predicted to increase with rapid anthropogenic changes and global trends such as migration and changing land use. Schistosomiasis currently infects more than 220 million people worldwide, and the multihost Schistosoma spp. system...
Article
Full-text available
Oxyurid nematodes (Syphacia spp.) from bank (Myodes glareolus) and field/common (Microtus spp.) voles, from disparate geographical sites in the British Isles, were examined morphologically and genetically. The genetic signatures of 118 new isolates are provided, based primarily on the rDNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) region and fo...
Article
Full-text available
Hybridization of infectious agents is a major emerging public and veterinary health concern at the interface of evolution, epidemiology, and control. Whilst evidence of the extent of hybridization amongst parasites is increasing, their impact on morbidity remains largely unknown. This may be predicted to be particularly pertinent where parasites of...
Article
Full-text available
Control and elimination of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis relies on mass administration of praziquantel. Whilst these programmes reduce infection prevalence and intensity, their impact on parasite transmission and evolution is poorly understood. Here we examine the genomic impact of repeated mass drug administration on Schistosoma mansoni po...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Schistosomiasis is a disease that poses major threats to human and animal health, as well as the economy, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Furthermore, its zoonotic nature and the presence of hybrid species complicate efforts to achieve the new World Health Organization’s roadmap for neglected tropical diseases target of eliminat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mass treatment with praziquantel (PZQ) monotherapy is the mainstay for schistosome treatment. This drug shows imperfect cure rates in the field and parasites showing reduced response to PZQ can be selected in the laboratory, but the extent of resistance in Schistosoma mansoni populations is unknown. We examined the genetic basis of variation in PZQ...
Article
Full-text available
The stability of parasite populations is regulated by density-dependent processes occurring at different stages of their life cycle. In dioecious helminth infections, density-dependent fecundity is one such regulatory process that describes the reduction in egg production by female worms in high worm burden within-host environments. In human schist...
Article
Full-text available
Schistosomiasis is the second most important human parasitic disease in terms of socioeconomic impact, causing great morbidity and mortality, predominantly across the African continent. For intestinal schistosomiasis, severe morbidity manifests as periportal fibrosis (PPF) in which large tracts of macro-fibrosis of the liver, visible by ultrasound,...
Article
Full-text available
Human ascariasis is a major neglected tropical disease caused by the nematode Ascaris lumbricoides. We report a 296 megabase (Mb) reference-quality genome comprised of 17,902 protein-coding genes derived from a single, representative Ascaris worm. An additional 68 worms were collected from 60 human hosts in Kenyan villages where pig husbandry is ra...
Article
Full-text available
Traditionally, the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii has been thought of as relevant to public health primarily within the context of congenital toxoplasmosis or postnatally acquired disease in immunocompromised patients. However, latent T. gondii infection has been increasingly associated with a wide variety of neuropsychiatric disorders and, m...
Article
Full-text available
The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of toxoplasmosis, can infect all warm-blooded animals. T. gondii can subtly alter host behaviors-either through manipulation to enhance transmission to the feline definitive host or as a side-effect, or "constraint," of infection. In humans, T. gondii infection, either alone or in ass...
Article
Full-text available
Background Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease of global medical and veterinary importance. As efforts to eliminate schistosomiasis as a public health problem and interrupt transmission gather momentum, the potential zoonotic risk posed by livestock Schistosoma species via viable hybridisation in sub-Saharan Africa have been largely ove...
Article
Infection by the small liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini, causes serious public health problems, including cholangiocarcinoma, in Thailand and southeastern Asian countries. Previous studies have reported that O. viverrini represents a species complex with varying levels of genetic differentiation in Thailand and Lao PDR. In this study, we re-exam...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Urogenital schistosomiasis, caused by infection with Schistosoma haematobium, is endemic in Niger but complicated by the presence of Schistosoma bovis, Schistosoma curassoni and S. haematobium group hybrids along with various Bulinus snail intermediate host species. Establishing the schistosomes and snails involved in transmission aids...
Article
Full-text available
In West Africa, Schistosoma spp. are capable of infecting multiple definitive hosts, a lifecycle feature that may complicate schistosomiasis control. We characterized the evolutionary relationships among multiple Schistosoma mansoni isolates collected from snails (intermediate hosts), humans (definitive hosts), and rodents (definitive hosts) in Sen...
Article
Full-text available
Analyses of the population genetic structure of schistosomes under the "Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation" (SCORE) contrasting treatment pressure scenarios in Tanzania, Niger, and Zanzibar were performed to provide supplementary critical information with which to evaluate the impact of these large-scale control acti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human ascariasis is a major neglected tropical disease caused by the nematode Ascaris lumbricoides. We report a 296 megabase (Mb) reference quality genome comprised of 17902 protein-coding genes derived from a single, representative Ascaris worm collected from 60 human hosts in Kenyan villages where pig husbandry is rare. Notably, the majority of h...
Article
Full-text available
Background: A key component of schistosomiasis control is mass drug administration with praziquantel. While control interventions have been successful in several endemic regions, mass drug administration has been less effective in others. Here we focus on the impact of repeated praziquantel treatment on the population structure and genetic diversi...
Article
Full-text available
Background: With the vision of "a world free of schistosomiasis," the World Health Organization (WHO) set ambitious goals of control of this debilitating disease and its elimination as a public health problem by 2020 and 2025, respectively. As these milestones become imminent, and if programs are to succeed, it is important to evaluate the WHO pro...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, the World Health Organization recognized that efforts to interrupt schistosomiasis transmission through mass drug administration have been ineffective in some regions; one of their new recommended strategies for global schistosomiasis control emphasizes targeting the freshwater snails that transmit schistosome parasites. We sought to iden...
Article
Full-text available
Do mutations required for adaptation occur de novo, or are they segregating within populations as standing genetic variation? This question is key to understanding adaptive change in nature, and has important practical consequences for the evolution of drug resistance. We provide evidence that alleles conferring resistance to oxamniquine (OXA), an...
Article
Full-text available
Whole-genome sequencing is being rapidly applied to the study of helminth genomes, including de novo genome assembly, population genetics, and diagnostic applications. Although late-stage juvenile and adult parasites typically produce sufficient DNA for molecular analyses, these parasitic stages are almost always inaccessible in the live host; imma...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Schistosomiasis and food-borne trematodiases are not only of major public health concern, but can also have profound implications for livestock production and wildlife conservation. The zoonotic, multi-host nature of many digenean trematodes is a significant challenge for disease control programmes in endemic areas. However, our unders...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Schistosomiasis is one of the neglected tropical diseases endemic to Mali. There has been insufficient investigation of the morbidity burden in highly endemic irrigated rice areas with the ongoing mass drug administration with praziquantel. In February 2005, a year after an initial mass drug administration in 2004, we performed the fir...
Article
Full-text available
Introgression among parasite species has the potential to transfer traits of biomedical importance across species boundaries. The parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans across sub-Saharan Africa. Hybridization with other schistosome species is assumed to occur commonly, because genetic crosses betw...
Preprint
Full-text available
Do mutations required for adaptation occur de novo , or are they segregating within populations as standing genetic variation? This question is key to understanding adaptive change in nature, and has important practical consequences for the evolution of drug resistance. We provide evidence that alleles conferring resistance to oxamniquine (OXA), an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Whole genome sequencing is being rapidly applied to the study of helminth genomes, including de novo genome assembly, population genetics, and diagnostic applications. Although late-stage juvenile and adult parasites typically produce sufficient DNA for molecular analyses, these parasitic stages are almost always inaccessible in the live host; imma...
Preprint
Full-text available
The parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality across sub-Saharan Africa. S. haematobium hybridizes with livestock schistosomes, including S. bovis , however the frequency, direction, age and genomic consequences of hybridization are unknown. We sequenced...
Article
Full-text available
Trematodes of the genus Plagiorchis have a wide geographical distribution and can exploit a variety of hosts. The occurrence and zoonotic potential of Plagiorchis spp. have been characterised across several countries in Asia; in contrast, information on Plagiorchis parasites in Africa remains anecdotal. We isolated a previously undescribed Plagiorc...
Data
Schistosoma mansoni egg count reduction data from primary schools in Uganda. Collected 2014. Data from publication: Crellen, T., Walker, M., Lamberton, P.H., Kabatereine, N.B., Tukahebwa, E.M., Cotton, J.A. and Webster, J.P., 2016. Reduced efficacy of praziquantel against Schistosoma mansoni is associated with multiple rounds of mass drug administr...
Article
Full-text available
Hydatigera (Cestoda: Taeniidae) is a recently resurrected genus including species seldom investigated in sub-Saharan Africa. We surveyed wild small mammal populations in the areas of Richard Toll and Lake Guiers, Senegal, with the objective to evaluate their potential role as intermediate hosts of larval taeniid stages (i.e. metacestodes). Based on...
Article
Full-text available
Adult schistosomes live in the blood vessels and cannot easily be sampled from humans, so archived miracidia larvae hatched from eggs expelled in feces or urine are commonly used for population genetic studies. Large collections of archived miracidia on FTA cards are now available through the S chistosomiasis C ollection a t the N atural History Mu...
Article
The liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini sensu lato causes serious public-health problems in northeast Thailand and Southeast Asian countries. A hypothesis has been proposed that O. viverrini represents a species complex with varying levels of genetic differentiation in Thailand and Lao PDR. This study aimed to clarify whether O. viverrini population...
Article
Full-text available
The complex multi-host disease dynamics of schistosomiasis and Schistosoma spp., including the emergence of zoonotic parasite hybrids, remain largely unexplored in West Africa. We elucidated the role of wild small mammals as reservoir for zoonotic Schistosoma species and hybrids in endemic areas of Senegal. We identified Schistosoma mansoni, Schist...
Article
Full-text available
Background Schistosoma mansoni is a parasite of profound medical importance. Current control focusses on mass praziquantel (PZQ) treatment of populations in endemic areas, termed Preventative Chemotherapy (PC). Large-scale PC programmes exert prolonged selection pressures on parasites with the potential for, direct and/or indirect, emergence of dru...
Article
Full-text available
Natural selection acts on all organisms, including parasites, to maximise reproductive fitness. Drug resistance traits are often associated with life-history costs in the absence of treatment. Schistosomiasis control programmes rely on mass drug administration to reduce human morbidity and mortality. Although hotspots of reduced drug efficacy have...
Article
Full-text available
Multi-host multi-parasite systems are evolutionarily and ecologically dynamic, which presents substantial trans-disciplinary challenges for elucidating their epidemiology and designing appropriate control. Evidence for hybridizations and introgressions between parasite species is gathering, in part in line with improvements in molecular diagnostics...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mass drug administration of praziquantel is the World Health Organization’s endorsed control strategy for schistosomiasis. A decade of annual treatments across sub-Saharan Africa has resulted in significant reductions of infection prevalence and intensity levels, although ‘hotspots’ remain. Repeated drug treatments place strong selective...
Article
Full-text available
A One Health economic perspective allows informed decisions to be made regarding control priorities and/or implementation strategies for infectious diseases. Schistosomiasis is a major and highly resilient disease of both humans and livestock. The zoonotic component of transmission in sub-Saharan Africa appears to be more significant than previousl...