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Open Access Review

Factors impacting on progress towards elimination of transmission of schistosomiasis japonica in China

Yi-Biao Zhou12*, Song Liang34 and Qing-Wu Jiang12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, 138 Yi Xue Yuan Road, Shanghai 200032, China

2 Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety, Ministry of Education (Fudan University), 138 Yi Xue Yuan Road, Shanghai 200032, China

3 Department of Environmental and Global Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32610, USA

4 Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32610, USA

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:275  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-275

Published: 3 December 2012

Abstract

Over the past decades China has made a great stride in controlling schistosomiasis, eliminating transmission of Schistosoma japonicum in 5 provinces and remarkably reducing transmission intensities in the rest of the seven endemic provinces. Recently, an integrated control strategy, which focuses on interventions on humans and bovines, has been implemented throughout endemic areas in China. This strategy assumes that a reduction in transmission of S. japonicum from humans and bovines to the intermediate Oncomelania snail host would eventually block the transmission of this parasite, and has yielded effective results in some endemic areas. Yet the transmission of S. japonicum is relatively complicated – in addition to humans and bovines, more than 40 species of mammalians can serve as potential zoonotic reservoirs. Here, we caution that some factors – potential roles of other mammalian reservoirs and human movement in sustaining the transmission, low sensitivity/specificity of current diagnostic tools for infections, praziquantel treatment failures, changes in environmental and socio-economic factors such as flooding in key endemic areas - may pose great obstacles towards transmission interruption of the parasite. Assessing potential roles of these factors in the transmission and implications for current control strategies aiming at transmission interruption is needed.

Keywords:
Schistosoma japonicum; Integrated control strategy; Transmission interruption