National survey data for zoonotic schistosomiasis in the Philippines grossly underestimates the true burden of disease within endemic zones: implications for future control
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Zoonotic schistosomiasis has a long endemic history in the Philippines. Human mass drug administration has been the cornerstone of schistosomiasis control in the country for the past three decades. Recent publications utilizing retrospective national survey data have indicated that the national human prevalence of the disease is <1%, hence the disease is now close to elimination. However, the evidence for such a claim is weak, given that less than a third of the human population is currently being treated annually within endemic zones and only a third of those treated actually swallow the tablets. For those who consume the drug at the single oral dose of 40 mg/kg, the estimated cure rate is 52% based on a recent meta-analysis. Thus, approximately 5% of the endemic human population is in reality receiving the appropriate treatment. To compound this public health problem, most of the bovines in the endemic communities are concurrently infected but are not treated under the current national control programme. Given this evidence, it is believed that the human prevalence of schistosomiasis within endemic regions has been grossly underestimated. Inherent flaws in the reporting of national schistosomiasis prevalence data are reported here, and the problems of utilizing national retrospective data in making geographic information system (GIS) risk maps and advising policy makers of the outcomes are highlighted.
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified