Department of Paediatrics, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Institut National de Recherche en Sante Publique (INRSP), Hospital National du Point G, Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Laboratory of Parasitology, University of Leiden, Institute of Medical Parasitology, University of Bonn, Hannover, Germany
The inhabitants of four villages endemic for Schistosoma mansoni in central Mali (n = 1,106 of both sexes, age range 2–80 years) and of two nonendemic villages in another part of the country were examined parasitologically and ultrasonographically to establish the prevalence of periportal liver fibrosis (PF) and other features of hepatosplenic schistosomiasis. The prevalence of S. mansoni infection ranged from 36% to 93% in the endemic villages. A severe infection (> 400 eggs/g of stool) was found in 16% of the infected individuals. No case of grade III PF (echogenic bands usually > 10 mm in diameter around the central part and major branches of the portal vein and streak-like fibrous bands that extended into the periphery of the liver) and only eight cases of grade II PF (echogenic bands usually > 10 mm in diameter around the central part and major branches of the portal vein) were found; no other signs of severe hepatosplenic disease were encountered. However, grade I PF (echogenic bands usually > 4 mm in diameter that were best visible in the area of the portal vein bifurcation and gall bladder neck) was detected in 21% of all individuals, mainly in adults. In the nonendemic villages, the prevalence of grade I PF in adults was 9%. Generally, there was no significant correlation between the grade of PF and S. mansoni egg output. In one village with a high endemicity level, however, the prevalence of grade PF I increased with the intensity of infection. Morphometric data revealed no significant influence of S. mansoni infection on portal vein stem diameter and spleen size. It is concluded that schistosomiasis mansoni did not progress to severe hepatosplenic disease in the examined villages; grade I PF was prevalent, especially in adults, but seemed to be related to factors other than schistosomiasis.