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The efficacy of soap against schistosome cercariae: A systematic review.

Zhang, Jiaodi, PitolGarcia, Ana, Braun, Laura, Hazell, Lucinda and Templeton, Michael R (2022) 'The efficacy of soap against schistosome cercariae: A systematic review.'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 16, Issue 10, e0010820.

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Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is endemic in 78 countries and affects almost 240 million people worldwide. It has been acknowledged that an integrated approach that goes beyond drug treatment is needed to achieve control and eventual elimination of the disease. Improving hygiene has been encouraged by World Health Organisation, and one aspect of good hygiene is using soap during water-contact activities, such as bathing and doing laundry. This hygiene practice might directly reduce the skin exposure to cercariae at transmission sites. A systematic review was carried out to investigate the efficacy of soap against schistosome cercariae and to identify the knowledge gaps surrounding this topic.


Six online databases were searched between 5th and 8th July of 2021. Records returned from these databases were screened to remove duplicates, and the remaining records were classified by reading titles, abstracts, and full texts to identify the included studies. The results were categorised into two groups based on two different protective mechanisms of soap (namely, damage to cercariae and protection of skin).


Limited research has been conducted on the efficacy of soap against schistosome cercariae and only 11 studies met the criteria to be included in this review. The review demonstrates that soap has the potential of protecting people against schistosome cercariae and there are two protective aspects: (1) soap affects cercariae adversely; (2) soap on the skin prevents cercariae from penetrating the skin, developing into adult worms and producing eggs. Both aspects of protection were influenced by many factors, but the differences in the reported experimental conditions, such as the cercarial endpoint measurement used and the cercaria numbers used per water sample, lead to low comparability between the previous studies. This review indicates that more evidence is needed to inform hygiene advice for people living in schistosomiasis endemic areas.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > WC 20 Research (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 695 Parasitic diseases (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 810 Schistosomiasis
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2022 11:36
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2022 11:36


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