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The Indispensability of Snail Control for Accelerating Schistosomiasis Elimination: Evidence from Zanzibar


Schistosomiasis is a serious and neglected global tropical disease, affecting upwards of 230 million people, with more than 95% of infections concentrated in Africa. For many years, the main schistosomiasis control strategy in Africa focused on mass drug administration (MDA). The aim of this study was to compare the difference between MDA alone and alongside another intervention, namely snail control, by exploring effective measures for eliminating schistosomiasis. Retrospective data of human prevalence on Schistosoma haematobium and major control measures were collected from the China-Zanzibar-WHO Cooperation Project for Schistosomiasis Elimination (CZW) and the Zanzibar Elimination of Schistosomiasis Transmission (ZEST) project since 2012. The optimal order polynomial regression fitting model and joinpoint regression model (JRM) were used to analyze trends in schistosomiasis prevalence and the consistency of change points with strengthening of the control measures. In Unguja Island, the main control measure was MDA, and prevalence decreased to a nadir in 2019, and then rebounded. The R2 value of the optimal fitting model was 0.6641. There was a single JRM changepoint in 2019, the annual percent change (APC) was −19.3% (p < 0.05) from 2012 to 2019, and the APC was 59.7% (p > 0.05) from 2019 to 2021. In Pemba Island, the main control measures until 2016 was MDA, while integrated measures of MDA and snail control were implemented from 2017, the prevalence continuously decreased, and the R2 value was 0.8673. There was also a single JRM changepoint in 2017, the APC was −22.2% (p < 0.05) from 2012 to 2017, and was maintained at −8.6% (p > 0.05) from 2017 to 2021. Our data indicate that, while it is challenging to eliminate schistosomiasis by MDA alone, integrated measures, including both MDA and snail control, can prevent reinfection and help to eliminate the diseases in Africa.

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Journal Article
Muhsin MA
Wang X
Kabole FM
Zilabumba J
Yang K