Environmental Predictors of Schistosomiasis Persistent Hotspots following Mass Treatment with Praziquantel

Schistosomiasis control programs rely heavily on mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns with praziquantel for preventative chemotherapy. Areas where the prevalence and/or intensity of schistosomiasis infection remains high even after several rounds of treatment, termed “persistent hotspots” (PHSs), have been identified in trials of MDA effectiveness conducted by the Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) in Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Côte d’Ivoire. In this analysis, we apply a previously developed set of criteria to classify the PHS status of 531 study villages from five SCORE trials. We then fit logistic regression models to data from SCORE and publically available georeferenced datasets to evaluate the influence of local environmental and population features, pre-intervention infection burden, and treatment scheduling on PHS status in each trial. The frequency of PHS in individual trials ranged from 35.3% to 71.6% in study villages. Significant relationships between PHS status and MDA frequency, distance to freshwater, rainfall, baseline schistosomiasis burden, elevation, land cover type, and village remoteness were each observed in at least one trial, although the strength and direction of these relationships was not always consistent among study sites. These findings suggest that PHSs are driven in part by environmental conditions that modify the risk and frequency of reinfection.

Joseph W. Walker, Nupur Kittur, Sue Binder, Jennifer D. Castleman, John M. Drake, Carl H. Campbell Jr., Charles H. King and Daniel G. Colley. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 Dec 30. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0658.

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