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Free Content Detailed clinical and ultrasound examination of children and adolescents in a Schistosoma mansoni endemic area in Kenya: hepatosplenic disease in the absence of portal fibrosis

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Hepatosplenic schistosomiasis involving organomegaly, portal fibrosis and portal hypertension has been observed in autopsy studies. Here, we have tested the hypothesis that hepatosplenic disease including organomegaly and markers of increased portal pressure can occur in school aged children in the absence of fibrosis. A case-only study of 96 children aged 7–20 years defined by ultrasound detectable hepatomegaly was undertaken in Makueni district, Kenya. A novel method of clinical examination that involved a consensus scoring by three or four examiners was used to classify children as presenting with severe or moderate hepatosplenic disease after palpation of livers and spleens. Ultrasound examination of livers and spleens was based on the Niamey protocol. Clinical measurements included spleen enlargement along the mid-clavicular and mid-axillary lines, liver enlargement along the mid-sternal (MSL) and mid-clavicular lines, as well as organ consistency. The clinical examination indicated that 9% and 60% of the children had severe or moderate hepatosplenomegaly, respectively. Amongst egg-positive children, all clinical measurements, except MSL liver enlargement, correlated with egg count, as did portal vein diameter, spleen length and liver length measured by ultrasound. Peri-portal fibrosis was not observed in any child, whereas 28% of the children were classified as having increased portal pressure according to World Health Organization criteria. There was no effect of malaria parasitaemia or hepatitis seropositvity on any of the observed parameters. These results indicate that hepatosplenic disease in school-aged children attributable to S.┬ámansoni infection, involving hepatosplenomegaly and increased portal vein diameter, can occur in the absence of peri-portal fibrosis.
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Keywords: Schistosoma mansoni; hepatomegaly; schistosomiasis; splenomegaly; ultrasonography

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, Charlottenlund, Denmark 2:  Division of Microbiology and Parasitology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK 3:  Biomedical Research and Training Institute, Harare, Zimbabwe 4:  Division of Vector Borne Diseases, Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya 5:  Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya 6:  Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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