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Emerg Infect Dis. 1997 Jul-Sep;3(3):303-10.

Emerging and reemerging helminthiases and the public health of China.

Author information

1
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Abstract

Despite great strides in their control throughout the People's Republic of China, helminth infections remain an important public health problem. The Institute of Parasitic Diseases of the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, under the guidance of the Chinese Ministry of Health, completed a nationwide survey of more than 1 million people that showed the high prevalence and intensity of intestinal nematode infections; prevalence can sometimes exceed 50% in the Yangtze River valley provinces. Schistosoma japonicum is also a major cause of illness in this region. Attempts to control Chinese helminthic diseases with conventional anthelminthic drugs have been partially thwarted by high posttreatment rates of reinfection. Recently, several new human trematode pathogens have been identified. Novel approaches to chemoprophylaxis and vaccination may alleviate the public health problem caused by Chinese helminths. However, recombinant helminth vaccine development will depend on first cataloguing the extensive genetic diversity of Chinese helminths and candidate vaccine antigens. Evidence from biogeography, genetics, and systematics suggests that the genetic diversification of Chinese helminths and their vectors is an ongoing evolutionary process that began 12 million years ago near the convergence of major Asian river systems. Construction of the Three Gorges Super Dam on the Yangtze River may promote the emergence and reemergence of new helminths and their snail vectors.

PMID:
9284374
PMCID:
PMC2627641
DOI:
10.3201/eid0303.970306
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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