Prevalence of Schistosoma haematobium measured by a mobile health system in an unexplored endemic region in the subprefecture of Torrock, Chad

TitlePrevalence of Schistosoma haematobium measured by a mobile health system in an unexplored endemic region in the subprefecture of Torrock, Chad
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsL. Didier, M.E. de Bruijn, and Jong
Secondary TitleJMIR public health and surveillance
Date Published2019
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsChad, schistosomiasis, tropical diseases

Background: Schistosoma haematobium is a parasitic digenetic trematode responsible for schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia). The disease is caused by penetration of the skin by the parasite, spread by intermediate host molluscs in stagnant waters, and can be treated by administration of praziquantel. Schistosomiasis is considered to be an important but neglected tropical disease.Objective: The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the prevalence of schistosomiasis in the subprefecture of Torrock, an endemic area in Chad where no earlier investigation had been conducted and no distribution system for pharmacotherapy has ever existed. Methods: This study examined 1875 children aged 1 to 14 years over a period of 1 year. After centrifugation, urine examination was performed by a direct microscopic investigation for eggs. The investigation was conducted with a mobile health (mHealth) approach, using short message service (SMS) for communication among parents, local health workers, a pharmacist, and a medical doctor. An initial awareness campaign requested parents to have their children examined for schistosomiasis. Urine was then collected at home by the parents following the SMS request. Urine results that proved positive were sent to a medical doctor by SMS, who in turn ordered a pharmacist by SMS to distribute praziquantel to the infected children. Results: Direct microscopic examination of urine found 467 positive cases (24.9% of the total sample). Of all male and female samples, 341 (34%) and 127 (14.4%) samples were positive, respectively. The infection rate was equally distributed over age groups. The newly developed mHealth system had a limited level of participation (8%) from an estimated total of 25,000 children in the target group. Conclusions: The prevalence of schistosomiasis in children in the subprefecture of Torrock is moderately high. Efforts will be required to enhance the awareness of parents and to reach a larger percentage of the population. Systematic governmental measures should be put in place as soon as possible to increase awareness in the area and to diagnose and treat cases of schistosomiasis.

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Citation Key10526