Ultrasonography in a Senegalese Community Recently Exposed to Schistosoma mansoni Infection

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  • Department of Pediatrics, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Laboratory of Parasitology, University of Leiden, Institut Pasteur, District Sanitaire de Richard Toll, Service Regional de la Sante, Humboldt University, Interdisziplinaeres Therapiezentrum, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Hannover, Germany
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Inhabitants of Ndombo (n = 614), a village in an area recently infected with Schistosoma mansoni in Northern Senegal, were examined clinically, parasitologically, and ultrasonographically to investigate the presence and degree of S. mansoni-related hepatosplenic morbidity after a few years of exposure to schistosomal infection of regional canals. Despite previous praziquantel treatment of 56% of the inhabitants prior to our investigation, the prevalence of S. mansoni infection in 1993 was 90%, and 42% of the villagers excreted more than 1,000 eggs per gram of stool. Previously untreated individuals were found to have significantly higher egg counts than treated ones. Despite the high intensities of infection, ultrasonographically detected severe periportal thickening of the liver was infrequent. Grading according to body length-dependent normal values of cross-section diameter of peripheral portal vein branches of a European control group correlated with intensities of infection. Of the total group of patients, 30% (n = 182) had more severe thickening of portal vein branch diameters above the 97th percentile and 70% of these had a splenomegaly. The highest egg counts and the most frequent development of periportal thickening were found in 11–20 year-old individuals. Periportal thickening was less frequent in praziquantel-treated adolescents than in untreated ones. This suggests that early antischistosomal medication may be useful to limit schistosomiasis-induced hepatic morbidity especially in children, even though reinfection seems inevitable.

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