For many years the epidemiological significance of immunity in human schistosomiasis has been the subject of inconclusive debate. Recently, the results of studies from Brazil and Kenya, on Shistosoma mansoni and from Zimbabwe and The Gambia on S. haematobium have confirmed the importance of protective immunity. In communities in endemic areas the development of immunity to infection only occurs after many years of exposure. In part this due to the slow development of antibodies wich are protective but also to the earlier development of antibody isotypes which lack protective capacity and wich are capable of interfering with the functioning of protective antibodies. Protective antibodies appear to be of the IgE class but some IgG subclasses may be also be important. Initially, blocking antibodies were thought to be predominantly IgM and IgG2 but IgG4 also seems to posses blocking activity. The early production of blocking antibodies and late production of protective antibodies may be indicative of cytokine induced immunoglobulin class swiching caused by the sequential involvment of different lymphokines.