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Intestinal parasitic infections in schoolchildren in different settings of Côte d’Ivoire: effect of diagnostic approach and implications for control

Jean T Coulibaly1234*, Thomas Fürst12, Kigbafori D Silué34, Stefanie Knopp12, Dimitri Hauri12, Mamadou Ouattara3, Jürg Utzinger12 and Eliézer K N’Goran34

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, P.O. Box, CH-4002, Basel, Switzerland

2 University of Basel, P.O. Box, CH-4003, Basel, Switzerland

3 Unité de Formation et de Recherche Biosciences, Université de Cocody, 22 BP 770, Abidjan 22, Côte d’Ivoire

4 Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, 01 BP 1303, Abidjan 01, Côte d’Ivoire

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:135  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-135

Published: 6 July 2012



Social-ecological systems govern parasitic infections in humans. Within the frame of assessing the accuracy of a rapid diagnostic test for Schistosoma mansoni in Côte d’Ivoire, three different endemicity settings had to be identified and schoolchildren’s intestinal parasitic infection profiles were characterized.


In September 2010, a rapid screening was conducted in 11 schools in the Azaguié district, south Côte d’Ivoire. In each school, 25 children were examined for S. mansoni and S. haematobium. Based on predefined schistosome endemicity levels, three settings were selected, where schoolchildren aged 8–12 years were asked to provide three stool and three urine samples for an in-depth appraisal of parasitic infections. Triplicate Kato-Katz thick smears were prepared from each stool sample for S. mansoni and soil-transmitted helminth diagnosis, whereas urine samples were subjected to a filtration method for S. haematobium diagnosis. Additionally, a formol-ether concentration method was used on one stool sample for the diagnosis of helminths and intestinal protozoa. Multivariable logistic regression models were employed to analyse associations between schoolchildren’s parasitic infections, age, sex and study setting.


The prevalences of S. mansoni and S. haematobium infections in the initial screening ranged from nil to 88% and from nil to 56%, respectively. The rapid screening in the three selected areas revealed prevalences of S. mansoni of 16%, 33% and 78%. Based on a more rigorous diagnostic approach, the respective prevalences increased to 33%, 53% and 92% S. haematobium prevalences were 0.8%, 4% and 65% (rapid screening results: 0.0%, 0.0% and 54%). Prevalence and intensity of Schistosoma spp., soil-transmitted helminths and intestinal protozoan infections showed setting-specific patterns. Infections with two or more species concurrently were most common in the rural setting (84%), followed by the peri-urban (28%) and urban setting (18%).


More sensitive diagnostic tools or rigorous sampling approaches are needed to select endemicity settings with high fidelity. The observed small-scale heterogeneity of helminths and intestinal protozoan infections has important implications for control.