Diagnosis of schistosomiasis japonica in Chinese schoolchildren by administration of a questionnaire

H. Zhou, A. G.P. Ross, G. F. Hartel, A. C. Sleigh, G. M. Williams, D. P. McManus, X. S. Luo, Y. He, Y. S. Li

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    40 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper describes a rapid, simple, cost-effective questionnaire for screening school-aged children at risk for Asian schistosomiasis in China. Five hundred and thirty-two children, aged 8-14 years, were selected from 3 schools in an area moderately endemic for Schistosoma japanicum in Hunan province. The questionnaire, comprising 15 multiple-choice questions, was administered by teachers in order to collect both ethnographic and epidemiological data relevant to current S. japonicum infections. This was followed by Kato-Katz thick smear stool examinations, miracidium hatching tests, and soluble egg antigen-enzyme linked immunosorbent assays in order to validate the efficacy of the questionnaire approach. The results from a combination of all 3 procedures indicated that the overall schistosomiasis prevalence in the 3 schools was 29.9% (138/472). Six risk factors (episodes of diarrhoea, frequency of water contact, school grade attained, weakness, past history of S. japonicum infection(s), and whether a subject had been previously treated for schistosomiasis) in the questionnaire were determined by logistic regression to be highly statistically significant predictors of individual current infection. The sensitivity (93.7%), specificity (91.9%) and low cost (c. US$ 0.6/true positive case) associated with the 6 variables model make the questionnaire approach a very useful diagnostic tool for screening marshland and lake communities at high risk for schistosomiasis in China before selective treatment with praziquantel or diagnostic follow-up. An even simpler 3 variables 'yes/no' model was derived from the questionnaire and found to be nearly as good at predicting individual infection (sensitivity 86.2% and specificity exceeding 97.6%) and extremely simple to use. If validated in other ecological settings in China the questionnaire, modified or as presented here, could be adopted by the national schistosomiasis control programme.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-250
    Number of pages6
    JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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