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Trends Parasitol. 2007 Apr;23(4):159-64. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Schistosomiasis and pregnancy.

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  • 1Center for International Health Research, Rhode Island Hospital, 55 Claverick Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Currently, schistosomes infect approximately 40 million women of child-bearing age, yet little is known about schistosome-associated morbidity in pregnant women and their offspring. Animal models indicate a deleterious effect of schistosome infection on maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes. Case reports have documented maternal infection in association with poor birth outcomes, and two observational studies indicate that maternal schistosome infection might be associated with decreased birth weight. Rigorously identifying and quantifying the impact of schistosome infection on pregnancy outcomes with well-designed observational and treatment studies are crucial for improving birth outcomes in schistosome-endemic areas. In addition, studies that address the safety of praziquantel during pregnancy could lead to further adoption of the recent informal recommendation by the World Health Organization to treat schistosome-infected pregnant and lactating women.

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