A 5-year longitudinal study of schistosomiasis transmission in Shian village, the Anning River Valley, Sichuan Province, the Peoples’ Republic of China
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Background Schistosoma japonicum is a major public health concern in the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), with over one million people infected and another 50 million living in areas at risk of infection. Based on ecological, environmental, population genetic and molecular factors, schistosomiasis transmission in PRC can be categorised into four discrete ecosystems or transmission modes. It is predicted that the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) will impact upon the transmission of schistosomiasis in the PRC, with varying degree across the four transmission modes. We undertook longitudinal surveillance from 2002 to 2006 in sentinel villages both above and below the TGD across five provinces (Hunan, Jiangxi, Hubei, Anhui and Sichuan) to determine whether there was any impact of the TGD on schistosomiasis transmission during its construction. Here we present the results from a schistosomiasis-endemic village located above the dam in Sichuan Province. Results Baseline results showed a human S. japonicum prevalence of 42.0% (95% CI: 36.6-47.5). At follow-up, results showed that the incidence of S. japonicum infection in the selected human cohort in Shian decreased by three quarters from 46% in 2003 to 11.3% in 2006. A significant (P < 0.01) downward trend was also evident in the yearly adjusted (for water contact) odds ratios. Over the four years of follow-up, the incidence of S. japonicum infection in bovines declined from 11.8% in the first year to zero in the final year of follow-up. Conclusions The substantial decrease in human (75%) and bovine (100%) incidence observed in Shian village can probably be attributed to the annual human and bovine PZQ treatment of positives; as seen in drug (PZQ) intervention studies in other parts of PRC. If an increase in schistosome transmission had occurred as a result of the TGD, it would be of negligible size compared to the treatment induced decline seen here. It appears therefore that the construction of the TGD had virtually no impact on schistosomiasis transmission in Shian village over the period of study. Furthermore, contrary to previous reports from Sichuan downplaying the role of animals in human schistosome transmission, bovines may indeed play a role.
Parasites & Vectors
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