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Free Content Epidemiology and geography of Schistosoma mansoni in Uganda: implications for planning control

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Intestinal schistosomiasis caused by infection with Schistosoma mansoni is a widespread public health problem in Uganda. Although long known to be endemic, its current distribution within the country requires updating of parasitological data to help guide planned control. We report such data collected between 1998 and 2002 from 201 schools and 68 communities across Uganda. In accordance with epidemiological expectation, prevalence and intensity increased with age, peaking at 10–20 years and thereafter declined moderately with age, whereas intensity declined more rapidly with age, and the prevalence of infection in a school was non-linearly related to the mean intensity of infection. We used geographical information systems to map the distribution of infection and to overlay parasitological data with interpolated environmental surfaces. The derived maps indicate both a widespread occurrence of infection and a marked variability in infection prevalence, with prevalence typically highest near the lakeshore and along large rivers. No transmission occurred at altitudes >1400 m or where total annual rainfall was <900 mm; limits which can help estimate the population at risk of schistosomiasis. The results are discussed in reference to the ecology of infection and provide an epidemiological framework for the design and implementation of control efforts underway in Uganda.
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Keywords: Schistosoma mansoni; Uganda; control programmes; epidemiology; geographical information systems (GIS); intestinal schistosomiasis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda 2:  Department of Infectious and Tropical Disease, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Publication date: 01 March 2004

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