oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Urban schistosomiasis transmission in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Schistosomiasis is endemic in South Africa and continues to pose public health challenges especially in dynamically changing areas, eg. informal settlements. Asurvey was conducted in the central Pietermaritzburg area, KwaZulu-Natal, to determine the prevalence, distribution and intensity of urinary schistosomiasis (Schistosoma haematobium) amongst occupants of informal settlements and to establish the distribution of snail hosts in relation to the settlements. Results revealed urinary schistosomiasis to be present amongst settlement dwellers at low prevalence (7.2%) and intensity levels (mostly <200 eggs/10 ml). Transmission was patchy. Infected snail hosts (Bulinus africanus) were found in nearby rivers and dams and an active focus of S. haematobium transmission was discovered in a city park - the first example of urban schistosomiasis from South Africa. A structured interview questionnaire was administered to settlement occupants to provide ancillary data. The public health implications of schistosomiasis control for South Africa are discussed.
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