Two-year impact of praziquantel treatment for Schistosoma japonicum infection in China: re-infection, subclinical disease and fibrosis marker measurements

Li, Y.S. ; Sleigh, A.C. ; Ross, A.G.P. ; Li, Y. ; Williams, G.M. ; Tanner, M. ; McManus, D.P.

In: Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2000, vol. 94, no. 2, p. 191-197

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    We studied a community cohort of 193 individuals exposed to endemic Schistosoma japonicum infection in the Dongting Lake region of China to assess subclinical morbidity and the 2-year benefit of curative therapy (praziquantel) administered in 1996. Prevalence and intensity of S. japonicum infection before treatment were 28% and 192 eggs per gram faeces (epg), respectively. Two years after cure, 22% of the cohort were reinfected, but with a lighter intensity (67 epg). Sixty-four subjects (37%) showed significant improvement in ultrasound parenchyma images after treatment and 51 subjects (54%) showed significant improvement of periportal fibrosis. Left-lobe enlargement also reversed (P < 0·05) and splenomegaly reversed in 6 of 8 cases and developed in only 1. Two years post-treatment a dilated portal vein became less frequent, but the decline was not significant (16% vs 11 %, P > 0·05). The serum levels of laminin and collagen IV associated with reinfection and intensity and hyaluronic acid levels correlated with ultrasound findings (P < 0·01). Overall, treatment induced a marked decrease in subclinical hepatosplenic morbidity attributable to S. japonicum although low-intensity re-infection after treatment remained relatively frequent. Stratified analysis and logistic models evaluated potential confounding factors for assessment of treatment effects on hepatic fibrosis. S. japonicum infection and moderate-heavy alcohol intake interacted: improvement in parenchymal morbidity was impeded among drinkers (P < 0·05). Chemotherapy focused on at-risk residents controls prevalent subclinical hepatic fibrosis but re-infection indicates the need for complementary control strategies