Prevalence of intestinal schistosomiasis in pre-school aged children: a pilot survey in Marolambo District, Madagascar

25 Jun 2021
Caitlin Sheehy, Heather Lawson, Emmanuel H. Andriamasy, Hannah J. Russell, Alice Reid, Gina U. Raderalazasoa, Graham Dodge, Robbie Kornitschky, James M. StJ. Penney, Tahiry N. Ranaivoson, Antsa Andrianiaina, Jenny S. Emmanoela, Amaya L. Bustinduy, J. Russell Stothard, Louis Andrianjaka & Stephen A. Spencer

School-aged children (SAC) have a considerable burden of intestinal schistosomiasis in Madagascar yet its burden in pre-school aged children (PSAC) is currently overlooked. To assess the at-risk status of PSAC, we undertook a pilot epidemiological survey in June 2019 examining children (n = 89), aged 2–4-years of balanced gender, in six remote villages in Marolambo District, Madagascar. Diagnosis included use of urine-circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) dipsticks and coproscopy of stool with duplicate Kato-Katz (K-K) thick smears. Prevalence of intestinal schistosomiasis by urine-CCA was 67.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 56.5–77.2%) and 35.0% (95% CI: 24.7–46.5%) by K-K. The relationship between faecal eggs per gram (epg) and urine-CCA G-scores (G1 to G10) was assessed by linear regression modelling, finding for every increment in G-score, epg increased by 20.4 (6.50–34.4, P = 0.006). Observed proportions of faecal epg intensities were light (78.6%), moderate (17.9%) and heavy (3.6%). Soil-transmitted helminthiasis was noted, prevalence of ascariasis was 18.8% and trichuriasis was 33.8% (hookworm was not reported). Co-infection of intestinal schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis occurred in 36.3% of PSAC. These results provide solid evidence highlighting the overlooked burden of intestinal schistosomiasis in PSAC, and they also offer technical  guidance for better surveillance data for the Madagascan national control programme.