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Int J Parasitol. 2012;42(3):305-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.02.002. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Epidemiology of mixed Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium infections in northern Senegal.

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  • 1Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.


Due to the large overlap of Schistosoma mansoni- and Schistosoma haematobium-endemic regions in Africa, many people are at risk of co-infection, with potential adverse effects on schistosomiasis morbidity and control. Nonetheless, studies on the distribution and determinants of mixed Schistosoma infections have to date been rare. We conducted a cross-sectional survey in two communities in northern Senegal (n=857) to obtain further insight into the epidemiology of mixed infections and ectopic egg elimination. Overall prevalences of S. mansoni and S. haematobium infection were 61% and 50%, respectively, in these communities. Among infected subjects, 53% had mixed infections and 8% demonstrated ectopic egg elimination. Risk factors for mixed infection - i.e. gender, community of residence and age - were not different from what is generally seen in Schistosoma-endemic areas. Similar to overall S. mansoni and S. haematobium infections, age-related patterns of mixed infections showed the characteristic convex-shaped curve for schistosomiasis, with a rapid increase in children, a peak in adolescents and a decline in adults. Looking at the data in more detail however, the decline in overall S. haematobium infection prevalences and intensities appeared to be steeper than for S. mansoni, resulting in a decrease in mixed infections and a relative increase in single S. mansoni infections with age. Moreover, individuals with mixed infections had higher infection intensities of both S. mansoni and S. haematobium than those with single infections, especially those with ectopic egg elimination (P<0.05). High infection intensities in mixed infections, as well as age-related differences in infection patterns between S. mansoni and S. haematobium, may influence disease epidemiology and control considerably, and merit further studies into the underlying mechanisms of Schistosoma infections in co-endemic areas.

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