Sultan Qaboos University, Institute of Medical Parasitology, University of Bonn, Kinderklinik Medizinische Hochschule, Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira, Division of Tropical Pediatrics, University Childrens' Hospital, Kinderkrankenhaus auf der Bult, Al-Khod Muscat, Oman
Five hundred thirty six Sudanese schoolchildren with Schistosoma mansoni infection were treated at random with either 20 mg or 40mg/kg praziquantel. Seven months later 420 children could be reinvestigated by ultrasonography. Reduction of egg excretion and reversibility of sonographically-proven periportal fibrosis (PF) was not significantly different in the two groups. Schistosoma mansoni-induced PF grade II decreased from 22.9% to 6.7% and grade III from 5.2% to 1.6%. An increased prevalence of PF grade I, from 10% to 29.8% of the investigated patients, was observed. This increase was caused partly by a downshifting of patients who had PF II (n = 45) and PF III (n = 8) before therapy, but also by patients who developed PF I in the seven months after therapy (n = 56). The overall percentage of patients with PF before and after treatment was 38.1%. Of 420 children, 17.4% increased in their PF grade, 55% remained at the same level and 27.6% improved. Children younger than 11 years of age had a higher rate of complete reversibility than older ones. The percentage of patients with hepatomegaly decreased significantly (11.6% to 6.9%; p = 0.001). The rate of splenomegaly remained unchanged. It was concluded that within seven months therapy with praziquantel resulted in a considerable qualitative improvement of PF in Sudanese schoolchildren with S. mansoni infection.