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Intestinal Schistosomiasis and Giardiasis Co-Infection in Sub-Saharan Africa: Can a One Health Approach Improve Control of Each Waterborne Parasite Simultaneously?

Both intestinal schistosomiasis and giardiasis are co-endemic throughout many areas of sub-Saharan Africa, significantly impacting the health of millions of children within endemic areas. While giardiasis is not considered a neglected tropical disease, intestinal schistosomiasis is formally grouped within the NTD umbrella and, as such, receives significant advocacy and financial support for large-scale control, annually. Given the many epidemiological similarities between intestinal schistosomiasis and giardiasis, in this review, we critically discuss why disease surveillance and control activities for giardiasis are largely absent within low- and middle-income countries. With advances in new methods of parasite diagnostics and provision of existing anti-parasitic medications, better management of intestinal schistosomiasis and giardiasis co-infection could, not only be better understood but also, more effectively controlled. In this light, we appraise the suitability of a One Health approach for intestinal schistosomiasis, for if adopted more broadly, could also pave a way forward for more inclusive public health actions against giardiasis.

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