This work had the objective of assessing the present epidemiological situation regarding schistosomiasis through performing Kato-Katz coproscopic tests on representative samples of schoolchildren from each of the 43 municipality of endemic area of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. The methodology is recommended by the World Health Organization to conduct sampled surveys among children at elementary school levels, ideal target group for baseline surveys: (i) schools are accessible; (ii) the greatest prevalence of schistosomiasis is found within this group; (iii) the data gathered from this age group can be used for intervention within the community as a whole. The following infection indicators were utilized: positivity (percentage of individuals examined with eggs of Schistosoma mansoni
in the feces) and severity (geometric mean number of eggs per gram of feces, epg). These indicators allowed the area in general and the municipalities in particular to be categorized into prevalence and severity classes for S. mansoni
. The prevalence classes were: low (<10%), medium (≥10 and <50%), and high (≥50%); the severity classes were: low (1-99 epg), moderate (100-399 epg), and severe (≥400 epg). For the geohelminthic diseases, the following indicators were used: positivity for each geohelminth (percentage of individuals examined with eggs of geohelminths), and cumulative positivity (percentage of individuals examined with eggs of at least one geohelminth). The municipalities were categorized by means of their cumulative positivity into the following geohelminth prevalence classes (WHO 2002): low (<50%), medium (≥50 and <70%), and high (≥70%). The study covered 271 schools in 179 different localities, thus giving a total of 11,234 examinations performed. The overall positivity for S. mansoni
was 14.4% and the egg count for this parasite in the feces gave a geometric mean of 67.9 epg which suggests a low general state of infection. These results allow this mesoregion to be categorized as presenting medium prevalence and low severity of schistosomiasis. The overall positivity rates for the geohelminths, Ascaris lumbricoides
, Ancylostomidae, and Trichuris trichiura
were, respectively, 30.4, 10.1, and 27.8%; the cumulative positivity was 45.4%. These results allow this mesoregion to be categorized as presenting low prevalence of geohelminthic diseases. The data show some municipalities in Pernambuco with prevalence greater than 20%, while others presented parasite loads greater than 100 epg. These indicators attest to the significant morbidity due to schistosomiasis regarding to the severity of infections established in young populations.