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High burden of schistosomiasis in pre-school-age children in Chikhwawa district

A newly published paper on schistosomiasis in children, by Dr. Helen Poole and colleagues, has found a considerable burden of the disease in young children in Chikhwawa district, highlighting the need for a more in-depth evaluation of the scale of the problem in young children in Malawi. Young children are currently not included in the national Malawi schistosomiasis control programme, which provides mass drug treatment with praziquantel (MDA) to school-aged children only.

Dr Helen Poole (who came to MLW as an LSTM MSc student) and MLW field staff examined pre-school-age children (PSAC) below 5 years of age and their mothers in Chikhwawa district. They found that approximately half of the examined pre-school-age children were infected and identified both urogenital and intestinal forms.