Treatment

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Diagnosis of schistosomiasis usually involves the microscopic identification of the helminth eggs in urine or stool.


Control of SCH using praziquantel chemotherapy has been shown to reduce mortality, morbidity and transmission. SCH is quickly and safely treated by a single dose of praziquantel, and WHO recommends treatment as a mainstay SCH control.


Past interventions using praziquantel to treat SCH in endemic areas, including Zimbabwe, have reported cure rates greater than 80% and egg reduction rates greater than 90%.


In high-risk communities (>50% prevalence) the WHO recommends yearly treatment of all school-age children. For moderate-risk communities (prevalence between 10% and 50%), treatment is recommended biannually, and for low-risk communities (<10% prevalence), treatment is given to children entering grade 1 and when they leave primary school.


Following the National survey, Zimbabwean districts will be classified into WHO recommended treatment strategies as outlined above and regular school based praziquantel treatment will be implemented. In Tanzania, a single treatment with praziquantel reduced detectable pathologic lesions of the urinary tract from appearing in 76% of children to just 11% at six months.


With any wide-scale drug administration, there is the concern that over time, drug-resistant helminthes will develop and spread. However, there is not yet indication that resistance to praziquantel is developing, and cure rates remain high.