Determinants of hepato- and spleno-megaly in Hunan, China: Cross-sectional survey data from areas endemic for schistosomiasis

D. B. Yu, A. G.P. Ross, G. M. Williams, Y. S. Li, D. P. McManus

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    In order to understand the determinants of schistosome-related hepato- and spleno-megaly better, 14 002 subjects aged 3-60 years (59% male; mean age = 32 years) were randomly selected from 43 villages, all in Hunan province, China, where schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma japonicum is endemic. The abdomen of each subject was examined along the mid-sternal (MSL) and mid-clavicular lines, for evidence of current hepato- and/or spleno-megaly, and a questionnaire was used to collect information on the medical history of each individual. Current infections with S. japonicum were detected by stool examination. Almost all (99.8%) of the subjects were ethnically Han by descent and most (77%) were engaged in farming. Although schistosomiasis appeared common (42% of the subjects claiming to have had the disease), only 45% of the subjects said they had received anti-schistosomiasis drugs. Overall, 1982 (14%) of the subjects had S. japonicum infections (as revealed by miracidium-hatching tests and/or Kato-Katz smears) when examined and 22% had palpable hepatomegaly (i.e. enlargement of at least 3 cm along the MSL), although only 2.5% had any form of detectable splenomegaly (i.e. a Hackett's grade of at least 1). Multiple logistic regression revealed that male subjects, fishermen, farmers, subjects aged ≥ 25 years, subjects with a history of schistosomiasis, and subjects who had had bloody stools in the previous 2 weeks were all at relatively high risk of hepato- and/or spleno-megaly. In areas moderately endemic for Schistosoma japonicum, occupational exposure and disease history appear to be good predictors of current disease status among older residents. These results reconfirm those reported earlier in the same region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)707-713
    Number of pages7
    JournalAnnals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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