In order to estimate the public health impact of helminth infections, and to provide baseline data for interventions, parasitological and morbidity surveys were conducted among inhabitants of three villages in Dongting Lake region, Hunan Province, China. Ascaris lumbricoides was found to be the most common helminth infection, followed by Trichuris trichiura and Schistosoma japonicum. Left liver enlargement was the most common indicator of morbidity. Observed numbers of multiple species infections closely correlated with expected figures generated from a simple probabilistic model. Heterogeneity was observed in age and sex-standardized infection and morbidity prevalences among the villages and occupations. Males had higher levels of infection, were more likely to suffer morbidity, and were more likely to have been treated for schistosomiasis than women. The prevalence of each morbidity indicator was positively correlated with the number of times of treatment for schistosomiasis, and negatively correlated with number of years since last treatment. The results imply that treatment history for S. japonicum infection may be a good indicator of current morbidity risk.
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