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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz
ISSN: 1678-8060
EISSN: 1678-8060
Vol. 94, No. 2, 1999, pp. 139-146
Bioline Code: oc99027
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Vol. 94, No. 2, 1999, pp. 139-146

 en The Last Fifteen Years of Schistosomiasis in Venezuela: Features and Evolution
Belkisyolé Alarcón de Noya; Carlos Balzan; César Arteaga; Italo Cesari & Oscar Noya

Abstract

Control of schistosomiasis in Venezuela has been a topic of
major interest and controversy among the metaxenic parasitosis. A
small area of transmission of approximately 15,000 km2
was thought to be eradicated some years ago. However, some
epidemiological characteristics of our transmission area have
limited the success on the way toward eradication. Since 1945, when
the Schistosomiasis Control Program started, the prevalence in the
endemic area has decreased from 14% in 1943 to 1.4% in 1996. Until
1982, the surveillance of active cases was based on massive stool
examination. Since then, the Schistosomiasis Research Group (SRG)
recommended the additional use of serologic tests in the Control
Program and the selective or massive chemotherapy depending on
serological and parasitological prevalence of each community. At
present, the real prevalence is underestimated due to the fact that
approximately 80% of the individuals eliminate less than 100 eggs/g
of feces. Those persons could be responsible for the maintenance of
the foci going on and therefore limiting the impact of the control
measures. 

Efforts of the SRG are being oriented toward improvement of immunodiagnostic tests by using defined antigens (enzymes) and chemically synthesized peptides, derived from relevant molecules of the parasite, either for antibodies or antigens search. On the other hand, introduction of snail competitors has been a biological weapon in the control of the intermediate host in certain areas. However, the recent reinfestation of water courses by Biomphalaria glabrata, the increased prevalence in some areas, together with important administrative changes at the Control Program of the Minister of Health, have arisen new questions and doubts, challenging the eradication strategy proposed during the last decade.

Keywords
schistosomiasis - Venezuela - epidemiology and control

 
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