The detection of specific DNA sequences by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has proved extremely valuable for the analysis of genetic disorders and the diagnosis of a variety of infectious disease pathogens. However, the application to the detection of Schistosoma mansoni
is rare, despite a recommendation of the World Health Organization that a major focus of research on schistosomiasis should be on the development and evaluation of new strategies and tools for control of the disease. In this context, a few studies were published for the detection of the parasite in snails, monitoring of cercariae in water bodies, and diagnosis of human infection. The present minireview describes sensitive and specific PCR based systems to detect S. mansoni, indicating possible applications in the detection of snail infection, monitoring of transmission sites, and diagnosis of human infection.