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East Mediterr Health J. 2003 Jul;9(4):518-33.

Recent advances in research and control of malaria, leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis and schistosomiasis.

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  • 1Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.


In the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis are the parasitic diseases of major importance. Our review focuses on recent advances in the control and treatment of these diseases with particular reference to diagnosis, chemotherapy, vaccines, vector and environmental control. The Roll Back Malaria Programme, for example, emphasizes the use of insecticide treated bednets in Africa and targets a 30-fold increase in treated bednet use by 2007. Increasing risk factors for leishmaniasis include urbanization, extended agricultural projects and civil unrest and the increase in patients with Leishmania infantum and HIV co-infection in the Region may signal a new threat. In the past 20 years, human African trypanosomiasis has resurged in sub-Saharan Africa; within the Region it has become more common in the southern Sudan where anthroponotic and zoonotic sub-species infections overlap. Schistosomiasis in the Region is caused by either Schistosoma haematobium or S. mansoni and large-scale control efforts include providing regular treatment to at-risk groups and supporting drug delivery through schools.

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