Disruptions to schistosomiasis programmes due to COVID-19: an analysis of potential impact and mitigation strategies
The 2030 goal for schistosomiasis is elimination as a public health problem (EPHP), with mass drug administration (MDA) of praziquantel to school-age children (SAC) as a central pillar of the strategy. However, due to coronavirus disease 2019, many mass treatment campaigns for schistosomiasis have been halted, with uncertain implications for the programmes.
We use mathematical modelling to explore how postponement of MDA and various mitigation strategies affect achievement of the EPHP goal for Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium.
For both S. mansoni and S. haematobium in moderate- and some high-prevalence settings, the disruption may delay the goal by up to 2 y. In some high-prevalence settings, EPHP is not achievable with current strategies and so the disruption will not impact this. Here, increasing SAC coverage and treating adults can achieve the goal. The impact of MDA disruption and the appropriate mitigation strategy varies according to the baseline prevalence prior to treatment, the burden of infection in adults and the stage of the programme.
Schistosomiasis MDA programmes in medium- and high-prevalence areas should restart as soon as is feasible and mitigation strategies may be required in some settings.