Precision mapping: An innovative tool and way forward to shrink the map, better target interventions, and accelerate toward the elimination of schistosomiasis

07 Aug 2018
Tchuem Tchuenté L-A, Stothard JR, Rollinson D, Reinhard-Rupp J

The mainstay of current schistosomiasis control is preventive chemotherapy (PC) with praziquantel, targeted toward school-aged children, based on the disease endemicity within a subset of surveyed schools, which are classified using parasitological prevalence and intensity of infections [1]. However, it is well known that the current conventional mapping design for schistosomiasis has shown several limitations and may lead to several uncertainties and misclassification of some districts and their eligibility for PC. These inaccuracies prevent successful PC coverage of all populations that need treatment and, therefore, jeopardise the achievement of schistosomiasis elimination [2]. Our recent studies have revealed that precision mapping of schistosomiasis is an essential requirement to move from disease control toward interruption of schistosome transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. As schistosomiasis is a focal disease geographically, having a high-resolution map is necessary if current or future interventions are to be targeted accordingly. Precision mapping is defined as conducting sampling at a much finer geographical resolution, potentially examining all schools within every subunit in each implementation unit in order to eliminate the errors caused by missing the focal variation in schistosomiasis prevalence. Indeed, current mapping protocols and sampling frames perform badly when assessing this landscape.