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 in endemic areas. While giardiasis is not considered a neglected tropical disease (NTD), intestinal schistosomiasis is formally grouped under the NTD umbrella and receives significant advocacy and financial support for large-scale control. Although there are differences in the epidemiology between these two diseases, there are also key similarities that might be exploited within potential integrated control strategies permitting tandem interventions. In this review, we highlight these similarities and discuss opportunities for integrated control of giardiasis in low and middle-income countries where intestinal schistosomiasis is co-endemic. By applying new, advanced methods of disease surveillance, and by improving the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives, (co)infection with intestinal schistosomiasis and/or giardiasis could not only be more effectively controlled but also better understood. In this light, we appraise the suitability of a One Health approach targeting both intestinal schistosomiasis and giardiasis, for if adopted more broadly, transmission of both diseases could be reduced to gain improvements in health and wellbeing.