During autumn 2000 an extensive cross-sectional survey of the prevalence of Schistosomiasis japonicum was conducted among about 4000 villagers within 20 villages in the Anning River Valley located in the southwestern Sichuan Province. Two procedures were used to assess infection status, the Kato-Katz thick smear procedure and a miracidia hatch test. Whereas the Kato-Katz procedure provides information on both prevalence and intensity, the hatch test provides only prevalence data, albeit on a much larger volume of stool. In addition, we performed Kato-Katz smears for 15 consecutive samples on a subset of 15 individuals. The proportion of both hatch-test and Kato-Katz positive individuals in the larger cross-sectional survey was 25%. The goal of the study was to estimate both the egg and worm distributions among risk groups using both the hatch and Kato-Katz tests from the cross-sectional data and the repeated Kato-Katz smears from the longitudinal data sets. As a prelude to parameter estimation, individuals were classified into risk groups by natural village and occupation; the proportion of Kato-Katz positive subjects among the risk groups varied from 10% to 60%. We used the statistical model of de Vlas et al. (1992) and Bayesian techniques to derive both estimates of and inference about the worm and egg distribution parameters. The parameter estimates imply (1) similar eggs per gram stool (e.p.g.) per worm pair compared with earlier estimates, (2) a range of worm burdens among the risk groups and (3) estimates of risk heterogeneity within groups is sensitive to prior information on the within-person variability in egg excretion.
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