Prevalence and Epidemiology of Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium Infection in Two Areas of Egypt Recently Reclaimed from the Desert

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  • Departments of Pediatrics, Community Medicine, and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Social Research Center, American University in Cairo, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Ismailia, Egypt

Projects are being carried out in many regions of Egypt to reclaim land from the desert for agriculture. This paper presents findings from a baseline epidemiologic study conducted in 1992 in two newly reclaimed areas near Ismailia, Egypt. In the first area, just east of the Suez Canal, 40.0% of the residents tested positive for Schistosoma mansoni and 1.7% tested positive for S. haematobium, while in the second area, 15 km southwest of Ismailia, 49.3% tested positive for S. mansoni and 3.3% tested positive for S. haematobium. The intensities of S. mansoni infection were moderately high, with a geometric mean egg count of 76 eggs/gram of feces among positive individuals in the first area, and 100 eggs/gram of feces in the second area. When compared with a previous study conducted in 1985, the prevalence of S. mansoni infection in the first area has increased from 21.7% to 42.1% among settlers in the last seven years, while that of S. haematobium has decreased from 7.8% to 1.7%. These trends may result from changes in irrigation practices or other alterations in the local environment. There is a risk of schistosomiasis becoming a major public health problem in reclaimed areas if adequate control measures are not taken.