Schistosomiasis affects more than 200 million individuals, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, but empirical estimates of the disease burden in this region are unavailable. We used geostatistical modelling to produce high-resolution risk estimates of infection with Schistosoma spp and of the number of doses of praziquantel treatment needed to prevent morbidity at different administrative levels in 44 countries.
We did a systematic review to identify surveys including schistosomiasis prevalence data in sub-Saharan Africa via PubMed, ISI Web of Science, and African Journals Online, from inception to May 2, 2014, with no restriction of language, survey date, or study design. We used Bayesian geostatistical meta-analysis and rigorous variable selection to predict infection risk over a grid of 1 155 818 pixels at 5 × 5 km, on the basis of environmental and socioeconomic predictors and to calculate the number of doses of praziquantel needed for prevention of morbidity.
The literature search identified Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma mansoni surveys done in, respectively, 9318 and 9140 unique locations. Infection risk decreased from 2000 onwards, yet estimates suggest that 163 million (95% Bayesian credible interval [CrI] 155 million to 172 million; 18·5%, 17·6-19·5) of the sub-Saharan African population was infected in 2012. Mozambique had the highest prevalence of schistosomiasis in school-aged children (52·8%, 95% CrI 48·7-57·8). Low-risk countries (prevalence among school-aged children lower than 10%) included Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, and Rwanda. The numbers of doses of praziquantel needed per year were estimated to be 123 million (95% CrI 121 million to 125 million) for school-aged children and 247 million (239 million to 256 million) for the entire population.
Our results will inform policy makers about the number of treatments needed at different levels and will guide the spatial targeting of schistosomiasis control interventions.
European Research Council, China Scholarship Council, UBS Optimus Foundation, and Swiss National Science Foundation.