Detection of schistosomiasis in an area directly affected by the São Francisco River large-scale water transposition project in the Northeast of Brazil
Abstract INTRODUCTION: The development of the São Francisco River Integration Project [Projeto de Integração do Rio São Francisco (PISF)] in the State of Ceará, Brazil, has resulted in environmental and socioeconomic changes with potential risks to public health. We aimed to determine the presence of Schistosoma mansoni infections in schoolchildren (aged 7-14 years) and workers from the construction site in an area under the direct influence of the PISF in the municipality of Brejo Santo-CE, to aid in the prevention and control of schistosomiasis. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study using two S. mansoni-detection methods: detection of S. mansoni eggs by the Kato-Katz parasitological method in stool samples (assessed in triplicate for each sample) and S. mansoni circulating cathodic antigen by the point-of-care immunochromatographic rapid test (POC-CCA) in urine. RESULTS In general, the positivity rates for S. mansoni detection were 1.9% (2/106) among schoolchildren and 2.9% (4/138) among workers. No child had evidence of S. mansoni eggs in their stools; 1.9% tested positive by the POC-CCA method. Among workers, two (1.4%) tested positive by the Kato-Katz test and three (2.2%) by the POC-CCA test. If the POC-CCA test results that were scored as traces were considered negative, then the positivity rates dropped to 0.9% and 0.7% for schoolchildren and workers, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The active transmission of schistosomiasis in a region covered by the PISF was recognized, reinforcing the necessity to consolidate surveillance and control actions, as well as structural sanitation measures to reverse the social determinants of the disease.