Concurrent Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium infections in a peri-urban community along the Weija dam in Ghana:- A Wake up call for effective National Control Programme.
Globally over 200 million people are infected with schistosomiasis, and approximately 80% are caused by just two of five species, Schistosoma haematobium and Schitosoma mansoni that are broadly distributed, and often overlap across sub-Saharan Africa. Like most neglected tropical diseases, mortality is low (an estimated 200,000 deaths annually) and morbidity is considerably high and probably underestimated. Surprisingly, little attention has been given to co-infection with these two species. We have studied co-infection with S. mansoni and S. haematobium in a peri-urban community in Ghana, one of the most highly endemic countries for schistosomiasis. We collected and examined snails of the two intermediate host species from the reservoir adjacent to the community. We also used microscopical examination of stool and urine samples to determine the level of concurrent S. mansoni and S. haematobium infections in school and administered questionnaires to assess water contact activities that predispose pupils to infections Examination of the snail hosts revealed that 0.7% (7/896) of Bulinus truncatus and 1.7% (14/780) of Biomphalaria pfeifferi snails were found to be hosting cercariae morphologically consistent with that of S. haematobium and S. mansoni respectively. The overall prevalence values for urogenital and intestinal schistosomiasis were 66.8% (135/202) and 90.1% (163/181) respectively. Only 50 of 181 schistosome-infected pupils had single-species infections and the remaining 131 pupils presented concurrent infections. Among the 131 infected with both species were 50 individuals having only S. mansoni eggs in stool and S. haematobium eggs in urine (conventional presentation). Eighty-one children (81) had eggs of both species in either urine and/or stool (ectopic presentation). From these 81, 63 had eggs of both species in urine, 6 had both species in stool, and 12 had eggs of both species present in both urine and stool. A comparatively large number of individuals from the concurrent infected group presented high and moderate infection intensities than the single infected groups. The overwhelmingly high prevalence of concurrent infections indicates further study of co-infection is needed, and points to a need call for a holistic disease control plan so Ghana can be part of nations to achieve the WHO roadmap target for schistosomiasis control by 2020.