Freshwater gastropods are very important to people's lives. Although we may not like parasites, gastropods provide host vectors for many parasites including various species of flatworms like Schistosomiasis and Fasciola hepatica just to name a few
(Kohl 2011, "Chapter 8: Freshwater Snails" 2011).

You may be asking yourself what are Schistosomiasis and Fasciola hepatica?  Well I'll tell you! Schistosomiasis very widespread across the world and a common parasite among humans. It is most common among those individuals who can't avoid being in contact with dirty water and children between the ages of ten and fifteen. A person becomes infected once a cercicae that has been carried by an intermediate host, the snail, has penetrated the skin and will then go through the body system and attach to the intenstines. Only about half of the new eggs then leave the body by feces ("Chapter 8: Freshwater Snails, 2011).

Fasciola hepatica on the other hand is a different story. This parasite causes immense economic damage for the animal industry and common among sheep, goats, and cattle. The adults of the parasite are in the bile duct and the eggs then pass in the intestines through to the feces. How does this involve a snail you may ask? Well after feces get into water, the snails then become host to the eggs which get swallowed by humans that eat the infected meat from the animals, which then start the cycle all over again. Kind of gross if you ask me ("Chapter 8: Freshwater Snails, 2011).

Although it is not pleasant, when species of gastropods become extinct, or become endangered, it provides an indication how bad certain areas are becoming because of pollution like agricultural run-off (Kohl 2011).

Gastropods are also a food source for many people, whether it be mussels or snails being eaten (Kohl 2011).

Who knew gastropods were so important to us humans!