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Schistosoma Japonicum Reduced After Intervention

Significant decreases in the rates of Schistosoma japonicum infection after implementation of a comprehensive intervention strategy

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing the rate of Schistosoma japonicum transmission is possible with the use of a comprehensive strategy of interventions, researchers report in the Jan. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Long-De Wang, M.D., of the Ministry of Health in Beijing, China, and colleagues evaluated the ability of a comprehensive control strategy to diminish the rates of S. japonicum infection, using two intervention villages and two control villages in Jiangxi, a southeastern Chinese province. Interventions implemented from 2005 through 2007 included prohibiting cattle grazing in grasslands, improving sanitation and delivering an intensive health-education program.

In the two intervention villages, the rate of S. japonicum infection was significantly decreased after three transmission seasons (11.3 percent to 0.7 percent in one intervention village and 4 percent to 0.9 percent in the other), the researchers report. Although the rates of infection in the control villages fluctuated, they did not differ significantly from baseline levels. The investigators also found that the number of infected snails and mice from selected areas within the intervention villages were significantly decreased.

"The elimination of schistosomiasis will be a long-term process requiring a long-term investment, but we must shoulder the necessary extra effort," the author of an accompanying editorial writes. "The integrated schistosomiasis-control strategies described by Wang et al. are clearly an important step in this direction."

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