An 11-year epidemiological analysis of schistosomiasis in Ecuador: Investigating a non-endemic, neglected, and challenging-to-identify parasitic disease
Schistosomiasis is a neglected disease caused by parasites of the genus Schistosoma and transmitted by snails of the genus Biomphalaria. At least five species have the potential to infect humans living in or visiting tropical areas worldwide. In Latin America, Schistosoma mansoni is particularly common; however, it has not been reported in Ecuador. In this study, we assess the available official data on schistosomiasis in Ecuador to describe the prevalence of this neglected disease. We conducted a nationwide study to determine the demographic and spatial distribution patterns of schistosomiasis infection in Ecuador, using hospital discharge official data as a proxy for infection incidence from 2011 to 2021. We calculated crude and age-sex-adjusted morbidity and hospital admission rates by region, province, canton, and elevation. In the last decade of available data, schistosomiasis accounted for at least 551 hospital admissions in Ecuador. Women represented 53.7% (n = 296) of cases, equivalent to 3.2 cases per 1,000,000 inhabits. The highest number of cases (61.2%, n = 337) was found in the Coastal region. However, the highest incidence rates were observed in the Amazon region's provinces of Pastaza (173.44 cases/1,000,000).