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BACKGROUND:Schistosomiasis remains an endemic parasitic disease causing much morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined strategies and goals to combat the burden of disease caused by schistosomiasis. The first goal is morbidity control, which is defined by achieving less than 5% prevalence of heavy intensity infection in school-aged children (SAC). The second goal is elimination as a public health problem (EPHP), achieved when the prevalence of heavy intensity infection in SAC is reduced to less than 1%. Mass drug administration (MDA) of praziquantel is the main strategy for control. However, there is limited availability of praziquantel, particularly in Africa where there is high prevalence of infection. It is therefore important to explore whether the WHO goals can be achieved using the current guidelines for treatment based on targeting SAC and, in some cases, adults. Previous modelling work has largely focused on Schistosoma mansoni, which in advance cases can cause liver and spleen enlargement. There has been much less modelling of the transmission of Schistosoma haematobium, which in severe cases can cause kidney damage and bladder cancer. This lack of modelling has largely been driven by limited data availability and challenges in interpreting these data. RESULTS:In this paper, using an individual-based stochastic model and age-intensity profiles of S. haematobium from two different communities, we calculate the probability of achieving the morbidity and EPHP goals within 15 years of treatment under the current WHO treatment guidelines. We find that targeting SAC only can achieve the morbidity goal for all transmission settings, regardless of the burden of infection in adults. The EPHP goal can be achieved in low transmission settings, but in some moderate to high settings community-wide treatment is needed. CONCLUSIONS:We show that the key determinants of achieving the WHO goals are the precise form of the age-intensity of infection profile and the baseline SAC prevalence. Additionally, we find that the higher the burden of infection in adults, the higher the chances that adults need to be included in the treatment programme to achieve EPHP.

Original publication




Journal article


Parasites & vectors

Publication Date





London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research, London, UK.