Detection of schistosomiasis applicable for primary health care facilities in endemic regions of Africa

Alžbeta Kaiglová 1 , Pavol Beňo 1 , and Mwatasa J.S. Changoma 2
  • 1 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Work, Trnava University, Univerzitné nám. 1, SK-92401, Trnava, Slovakia
  • 2 Kwale Research Site, NUITM-KEMRI Project, Resource Centre Bldg., Next to Kwale Hospital, P.O.BOX 134, Kwale, Kenya
Alžbeta Kaiglová
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Work, Trnava University, Univerzitné nám. 1, SK-92401, Trnava, Slovakia
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, Pavol Beňo
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Work, Trnava University, Univerzitné nám. 1, SK-92401, Trnava, Slovakia
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar
and Mwatasa J.S. Changoma
  • Kwale Research Site, NUITM-KEMRI Project, Resource Centre Bldg., Next to Kwale Hospital, P.O.BOX 134, Kwale, Kenya
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar

Abstract

Schistosomiasis is the most prevalent neglected tropical disease, which causes a serious health problem in low-income tropical and sub-tropical countries, especially in deprived communities. More than 90% of people suffering from schistosomiasis live in sub-Saharan Africa, where blood flukes Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium are the most prevalent causes of this infection. Primary health care facilities situated in rural regions of Africa – as first contact places for patients suffering from “diseases of poverty”, resulting from lack of clean water and sanitation system – may assist in better diagnosis and management of schistosomiasis. The diagnosis of schistosomiasis is mainly based on microscopic detection of parasite eggs in the excreta (urine or stool), immunodiagnostic assays or DNA-based techniques. However, only some of them are adaptable for primary health care situations. Moreover, most microscopic methods as well as immunodiagnostic assays for Schistosoma antigen detection lack sensitivity in the diagnosis of light infections with low egg output, e.g., in schistosomiasis-endemic areas where mass drug administration programs have been implemented. To improve detection of schistosomiasis in these areas highly sensitive, easy-to-perform and cost-effective methods are needed. The objective of this article is, therefore, to put together reliable diagnostic techniques for schistosomiasis detection, applicable to primary health care facilities in rural regions of Africa. With appropriate tools, these places of first contact between patient and health care workers could contribute to the better identification of population at risk, and improve morbidity or efficacy of preventive measures.

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