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Mapping of Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Namibia: The First Large-Scale Protocol to Formally Include Rapid Diagnostic Tests

Sousa-Figueiredo, José Carlos, Stanton, Michelle ORCID:, Katokele, Stark, Arinaitwe, Moses, Adriko, Moses, Balfour, Lexi, Reiff, Mark, Lancaster, Warren, Noden, Bruce H, Bock, Ronnie and Stothard, Russell ORCID: (2015) 'Mapping of Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Namibia: The First Large-Scale Protocol to Formally Include Rapid Diagnostic Tests'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 9, Issue 7, e0003831.

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Namibia is now ready to begin mass drug administration of praziquantel and albendazole against schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths, respectively. Although historical data identifies areas of transmission of these neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), there is a need to update epidemiological data. For this reason, Namibia adopted a new protocol for mapping of schistosomiasis and geohelminths, formally integrating rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for infections and morbidity. In this article, we explain the protocol in detail, and introduce the concept of ‘mapping resolution’, as well as present results and treatment recommendations for northern Namibia.

This new protocol allowed a large sample to be surveyed (N = 17 896 children from 299 schools) at relatively low cost (7 USD per person mapped) and very quickly (28 working days). All children were analysed by RDTs, but only a sub-sample was also diagnosed by light microscopy. Overall prevalence of schistosomiasis in the surveyed areas was 9.0%, highly associated with poorer access to potable water (OR = 1.5, P<0.001) and defective (OR = 1.2, P<0.001) or absent sanitation infrastructure (OR = 2.0, P<0.001). Overall prevalence of geohelminths, more particularly hookworm infection, was 12.2%, highly associated with presence of faecal occult blood (OR = 1.9, P<0.001). Prevalence maps were produced and hot spots identified to better guide the national programme in drug administration, as well as targeted improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene. The RDTs employed (circulating cathodic antigen and microhaematuria for Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium, respectively) performed well, with sensitivities above 80% and specificities above 95%.

This protocol is cost-effective and sensitive to budget limitations and the potential economic and logistical strains placed on the national Ministries of Health. Here we present a high resolution map of disease prevalence levels, and treatment regimens are recommended.

Author Summary
Historical data indicates Namibia, particularly northern Namibia, as endemic for geohelminths and schistosomiasis, albeit to a lower extent than other areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. The National Ministry of Health and Social Services, with extensive backing from other governmental and non-governmental organizations, investigated the extent of the problem in preparation for deployment of a control programme. Using a cost-effective strategy, a new generation protocol was developed for mapping these important neglected tropical diseases, bolstering field-standard microscopy results with those from commercially available rapid diagnostic tests. The protocol used increased the mapping coverage (one in every four schools mapped) with minimal added cost. Results from our surveys, which included 17 896 school-going children (3–19 years of age), identified hotspots of transmission for schistosomiasis and geohelminths, particularly hookworm infection, and allowed the recommendation of constituency- and region- specific treatment regimens, as well as improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene. Furthermore, we identified high levels of intestinal morbidity, believed to be associated with hookworm and Hymenolepis nana infections, and lower levels of urogenital pathology, associated with Schistosoma haematobium infection. A cost-effectiveness analysis is also presented in addition to reporting the diagnostic accuracy of the rapid diagnostic tests employed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Helminths. Annelida > QX 200 Helminths
WB Practice of Medicine > Diagnosis > General Diagnosis > WB 141 General works
WB Practice of Medicine > Medical Climatology > WB 700 Medical climatology. Geography of disease
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 810 Schistosomiasis
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2016 15:57
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 12:52


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