David M. Gute, professor of civil and environmental engineering, published Effective Control of Schistosoma haematobium Infection in a Ghanaian Community Following Construction of a Water Recreation Area in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases with Tufts’ co-authors Karen Claire Kosinski, Tufts alumna, John Durant, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering, and Miguel Stadecker, professor of pathology at the Tufts University School of Medcine. The abstract is below -
Urogenital schistosomiasis is a disease caused by the parasite Schistosoma haematobium; it is often characterized by bloody urine and tends to disproportionately affect school-aged children in rural tropical regions. The parasite is transmitted via skin contact with surface water that is contaminated by human waste. The disease was endemic in Adasawase, a rural Ghanaian community, in 2007. Transmission occurred mainly through recreational water contact. We collaborated with community members to design a water recreation area (WRA) featuring a concrete pool supplied by a borehole well and a rainwater collection system. We opened the pool in 2009 and local officials encouraged children to use the WRA for recreation. We screened local children annually (2008, 2009, 2010) for S. haematobium infection. After each screening, children were treated with praziquantel and rescreened. Baseline testing in 2008 established that at least 105 of 247 (42.5%) children were infected. In 2009, 29 of 216 (13.4%) children were infected, reflecting annual cumulative incidence. In 2010, a significantly smaller percentage of children (9 of 245, 3.7%) were infected. We conclude that the WRA effectively reduced infection in Adasawase, and that it should be tested in other water-rich endemic areas.
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