Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Heterogeneities in water contact patterns and the epidemiology of schistosoma haematobium

  • S. K. Chandiwana (a1) and M. E. J. Woolhouse (a2)

Variations in the amount of water contact made by individuals and in the amount of water contact made at different sites may have significant impacts on patterns of human schistosome infection. Previous studies have reported variations in the rate of water contact and differences in the sites used between age/sex classes, but there is limited information on variations in individual water contact behaviour. In this paper we report and analyse observations of essentially all water contacts made over a two week period by all individuals in a rural community in eastern Zimbabwe. The mean rate of water contact was 0.43 contacts/person/day. These data were over-dispersed, ranging from zero to 3.3 contacts/person/day; 90% of contacts were made by only 37% of the population. Contact rates were related to age (highest in 8 to 10-year-olds) but not sex, with substantial variation unaccounted for by these variables. Age and sex classes differed in types of water-related activities and the time of day of contact. A greater diversity of sites was used by children than by adults and by males than by females. Individual contact rates were correlated with intensities of infection, although the risk of infection per contact was estimated to be highest in 2 to 4-year-old children and higher for males than females. Five contact sites were used during the study period, with more than 50% of contacts occurring at just 2 sites. Different age and sex classes used different sites and there were additional site-related differences in types of activity and the time of day of use. The implications of these water contact patterns for schistosome epidemiology are discussed. In particular the results provide strong quantitative support for control programmes aimed at heavily used sites (e.g. focal mollusciciding) or at the minority of individuals making most water contacts (e.g. targeted chemotherapy).

Hide All
A. D. Barbour (1978). Macdonald's model and the transmission of bilharzia. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 72, 615.

A. E. Butterworth , M. Capron , J. S. Cordingley , P. R. Dalton , D. W. Dunne , H. C. Kariuki , D. Koech , M. Mugambi , J. H. Ouma , M. A. Prentice , B. A. Richardson , T. K. Arap Siongok , R. F. Sturrock & D. W. Taylor (1985). Immunity after treatment of schistosomiasis mansoni. II. Identification of resistant individuals, and analysis of their immune responses. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 79, 393408.

S. K. Chandiwana (1986). How Schistosoma mansoni eggs reach natural waterbodies. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 80, 963–4.

S. K. Chandiwana (1987 a). Community water contact patterns and the transmission of Schistosoma haematobium in the highveld region of Zimbabwe. Social Science and Medicine 25, 495505.

E De Lima , M. F. F. Costa , R. S. Rocha , M. H. Magalhaes , A. De & N. Katz (1985). A clinico-epidemiological survey of schistosomiasis mansoni in a hyperendemic area in Minas Gerais State (Comercinho, Brazil). I. Differences in the manifestations of schistosomiasis in the town centre and the environs. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 79, 539–45.

P. Hagan , U. J. Blumenthal , D. Dunn , A. J. G. Simpson & H. A. Wilkins (1991). Human IgE, IgG4 and resistance to reinfection with Schistosoma haematobium. Nature, London349, 243–5.

H. Kloos , G. I. Higashi , J. A. Cattani , V. D. Schlinski , N. S. Mansour & K. D. Murrell (1983). Water contact behaviour and schistosomiasis in an Upper Egyptian village. Social Science and Medicine 17, 545–62.

M. A. Tayo , R. N. H. Pugh & A. K. Bradley (1980). Malumfashi endemic diseases research project, XI. Water-contact activities in the schistosomiasis study area. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 74, 347–54.

H. A. Wilkins , U. J. Blumenthal , P. Hagan , R. J. Hayes & S. Tulloch (1987). Resistance to reinfection after treatment of urinary schistosomiasis. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 81, 2935.

H. A. Wilkins , P. H. Goll , T. F. De C. Marshall & P. J. Moore (1984). Dynamics of Schistosoma haematobium infection in a Gambian community. III. Acquisition and loss of infection. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 78, 227–32.

M. E. J. Woolhouse , C. H. Watts & S. K. Chandiwana (1991). Heterogeneities in transmission rates and the epidemiology of schistosome infection. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 245, 109–14.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 7 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 115 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.