Paediatric Schistosomiasis: indirect, long-term impacts on health - Wellcome Trust
When a young child in the western world excretes blood in their urine, the child is quite rightly, immediately rushed to A&E and attended to - this is what happened to the index case (a 4-year old) at the new foci in France. In contrast, several millions of African children live with this condition for decades while the pathology is worsening and this is not being treated with the same level of urgency. This condition can be treated with a single dose of the antihelminthic drug, Praziquantel. This drug is safe and efficacious, with cure rates as high as 100% in some areas and is given as a single oral dose. Our recent work has focused on the treatment of young children though building the evidence base for the inclusion of preschool children (aged 5 years and below) in national schistosome treatment programs though Mass Drug Administration (MDA) and developing operational tools for their treatment. This goal is now within sight, with the World Health Organisation's recommendations in 2010 that these children should be treated for schistosomiasis and the private-public partnership, the Paediatric Praziquantel Consortium developing a paediatric formulation of Praziquantel, now awaiting Phase III clinical trials. Our own research group is currently investigating the most optimal time to treat these preschool children, relative to time of infection in terms of morbidity control and facilitation of the development of acquired immunity protective against re-infection. Making the best use of the tools we already have against schistosomiasis, including optimal antihelminthic treatment, improved water and sanitation and education while developing additional complementary interventions (e.g. snail control and vaccine) will help in controlling a disease that is a major public health concern.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: February 1, 2017
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