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Article contents

One hundred years of neglect in paediatric schistosomiasis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2017

AMAYA L. BUSTINDUY
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Research, London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK
STEPHEN WRIGHT
Affiliation:
Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Mortimer Market Centre, Mortimer Market, London WC1E 6JD, UK
ELIZABETH C. JOEKES
Affiliation:
Department of Radiology, The Royal Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, Liverpool L78XP, UK
NARCIS B. KABATEREINE
Affiliation:
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, Imperial College of London, 1 Norfolk Place, Paddington, London W2 1PG, UK
JUTTA REINHARD-RUPP
Affiliation:
Global Health R&D Department (route de la Verrerie 6, 1267 Coinsins, Switzerland) being part of the Biopharma Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
CHARLES H. KING
Affiliation:
Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106, USA
J. RUSSELL STOTHARD
Affiliation:
Department of Parasitology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, L3 5QA, UK
Corresponding

Summary

Early in the history of schistosomiasis research, children under 5 years of age were known to be infected. Although this problem was recognized over 100 years ago, insufficient action has been taken to address this issue. Under current policy, such infected children only receive their first antiparasitic treatment (praziquantel – PZQ) upon entry into primary school as current mass drug administration programmes typically target school-aged children. For many infected children, they will wait up to 6 years before receiving their first medication and significant schistosomiasis-related morbidity may have already established. This inequity would not be accepted for other diseases. To unveil some of the reasons behind this neglect, it is paramount to understand the intricate historical relationship between schistosomiasis and British Imperial medicine, to underline its lasting influence on today's public health priorities. This review presents a perspective on the historical neglect of paediatric schistosomiasis, focusing on important gaps that persist from the early days after discovery of this parasite. Looking to end this inequity, we address several issues that need to be overcome to move forward towards the lasting success of schistosomiasis control and elimination efforts.

Type
Special Issue Review
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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