Internal versus external determinants of Schistosoma japonicum transmission in irrigated agricultural villages
Published Web Locationhttp://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/67/272.short
Currently schistosomiasis transmission has been suppressed to low levels in many historically endemic areas of China by widespread use of praziquantel in human and bovine populations and application of niclosamide for snail control. However, re-emergent transmission has signalled the need for sustainable interventions beyond these repeated chemical interventions. To take advantage of ongoing investment in rural infrastructure, an index of schistosomiasis transmission potential is needed to identify villages where environmental modifications would be particularly effective. Based on a retrospective analysis of data from 10 villages in Sichuan Province, an index linked to the basic reproductive number is shown to have promise in meeting this need. However, a lack of methods for estimating the spatial components of the proposed metric and for estimating the import of cercariae and miracidia from neighbouring villages leads to significant uncertainty in its estimation. These findings suggest a priority effort to develop methods for measuring the free-swimming forms of the parasite in surface waters. This need is underscored by the high cost and limited sensitivity of current methods for diagnosing human infection and mounting evidence of the inadequacy of snail surveys to identify environments supporting low levels of transmission.