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      Schistosoma mansoni, intestinal parasites and perceived morbidity indicators in schoolchildren in a rural endemic area of western Côte d'Ivoire.

      Tropical Medicine & International Health

      statistics & numerical data, Attitude to Health, Child, Cote d'Ivoire, epidemiology, Endemic Diseases, prevention & control, Female, Focus Groups, Health Status Indicators, Humans, Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic, complications, parasitology, Adolescent, Male, Mass Screening, methods, Morbidity, Prevalence, Questionnaires, standards, Risk Factors, Rural Health, Schistosomiasis mansoni, Sensitivity and Specificity, Students, psychology

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          There is a great need for rapid and low-cost identification of communities at high risk of intestinal schistosomiasis. We report the development of a questionnaire approach that may do so. In the first phase, 209 schoolchildren from 3 neighbouring villages in a rural area endemic for intestinal schistosomiasis in western Côte d'Ivoire were screened for Schistosoma mansoni and other helminths on 4 consecutive days using Kato-Katz thick smears. Daily infection prevalences of S. mansoni were high (60%-71%) and the cumulative infection prevalence was 92.3%. Infections with hookworms and Ascaris lumbricoides were also frequent, with cumulative prevalences of 60.8% and 38.3%, respectively. On day 3, the presence of Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar and Giardia lamblia was assessed by a faecal concentration procedure. In the second phase, focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted: in each village one FGD with heavily infected children and one FGD with lightly or S. mansoni-uninfected schoolchildren to assess their perception of morbidity. The aim was to establish local terms indicating S. mansoni infections. 'Diarrhoea', 'blood in the stools', 'stomach disorders' and 4 terms in the local Yacouba/Dioula languages were frequently used by infected children. A simple questionnaire was then developed and the headteachers interviewed all schoolchildren individually. 'Blood in stools', gnon and toto were reported significantly more frequently among moderately and heavily S. mansoni-infected children than by those not or only lightly infected. The term gloujeu indicated borderline significance. The best diagnostic performance was found for 'blood in stool' (sensitivity: 47%; specificity: 76%; positive predictive value: 66%; negative predictive value: 60%). All schistosomiasis infections were treated with a single oral dose of praziquantel (40 mg/kg body weight) and the same questionnaire was re-administered 6 weeks post-treatment. Statistically significantly less children reported having had 'blood in stool' and 'gloujeu' after treatment (McNemar's (chi2-test, P < 0.01). We conclude that 'blood in stool', 'gnon', 'toto' and 'gloujeu' are the most reliable reported symptoms for rapid and low-cost identification of communities that are at high risk of S. mansoni infections in Côte d'Ivoire.

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