Paediatric and maternal schistosomiasis: shifting the paradigms
Background: In endemic areas, schistosomiasis causes both overt and subclinical disease in young children and their mothers, as well as in returned travellers.
Areas of agreement: An action plan for paediatric schistosomiasis and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is needed with expanded access to praziquantel (PZQ) treatment required.
Areas of controversy: Schistosomiasis-related morbidity is underappreciated. Present and future demand for PZQ treatment is bottlenecked, imbalanced and inequitable. Current dosing, treatment algorithms and access plans are suboptimal with treatment stalled during pregnancy.
Growing points: Raised dosing of PZQ (>40 mg/kg) is being explored in young children. Surveillance of female genital schistosomiasis FGS is increasing. Use of PZQ in pregnancy is safe and preventive chemotherapy guidelines are being revised in morbidity- and transmission-control settings.
Areas timely for developing research: Shifting focus of population-level control to individual-case management. Detection and prevention of FGS within general health services and integration of PZQ treatment for women and children in antenatal clinics. Feasibility studies assessing alternative and expanded access to PZQ treatment to at-risk children and mothers and pregnant women.