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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-12

Schistosomiasis: A neglected tropical disease of poverty: A call for intersectoral mitigation strategies for better health

Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Kaliyaperumal Karunamoorthi
Faculty of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jhrr.jhrr_92_17

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Schistosomiasis (SCH) is one of the neglected tropical diseases, and it is endemic over 78 resource-constrained countries. It is one the indicator of poverty as it is often ubiquitous among the poorest of the poor. A total of 172 potential articles were identified through premier academic-scientific databases, and 86 were chosen. Human beings (permanent-host) are often exposed to infested water (urine/stools of infected persons) that harbor susceptible snails during their routine domestic and occupational activities. The cercaria (released by snails [intermediate-host]) infects people by penetrating into their skin. Currently, several multi-faceted interventions are underway to combat the SCH, namely, (a) potable water, (b) environmental diagnostics, (c) prophylactic chemotherapy with praziquantel, and (d) scaling up of snail control. Although in the recent decades tremendous strides have been made to minimize the disease burden, they are so feeble to eliminate the infection in several poverty-stricken settings. Female genital-SCH is also one of the key parasitic cofactors of HIV transmission. However, it remains neglected in terms of priority in allocating sufficient resources to develop next-generation tools, i.e., vaccine. Therefore, there are challenges lying ahead in achieving our ambitious goal of global elimination. Nevertheless, it can be attained through the recent medical-technological advancements as well as by strengthening the ongoing multi-pronged interventions such as (1) generating awareness, (2) continual surveillance, (3) early case-detection, (4) mass deworming, (5) increasing the research funds, (6) developing sensitive diagnostic tools, (7) prophylactic vaccines, and (8) therapeutic agents. Besides, the improved disease surveillance and response systems could pave the way to build an SCH-free world in the near future.

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