Health questionnaires and parasitologic examinations of urine and stool were performed upon a stratified random sample of 14,344 individuals from 1,952 households in 34 rural communities in Gharbia Governorate of Egypt to investigate the prevalence of, risk factors for, and changing pattern of infection with Schistosoma sp. A subset, every fifth household, of 1,973 subjects had physical and ultrasound examinations to investigate prevalence of and risk factors for morbidity. Community prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni ranged from 17.9% to 79.5% and averaged 37.7%. The geometric mean egg count (GMEC) was 78.9 eggs/gram of feces. The prevalence and intensity of infection was 40-50% and 70-100 eggs/gram of feces in those > or =10 years of age. Schistosoma haematobium was detected in 5 of the 34 communities. The maximum infection rate was 2.8% and mean GMEC in the five communities was 2.1/10 ml of urine. The overall prevalence of S. haematobium in the governorate was 0.3%. Risk factors for infection with S. mansoni were male gender, an age >10 years, living in smaller communities, exposures to canal water, prior therapy for schistosomiasis, or blood in the stool (in children only). Morbidity detected by physical examination or ultrasonography did not correlate with S. mansoni infection in individuals with the exception of periportal fibrosis (PPF, odds ratio [OR] = 1.25). Periportal fibrosis was detected in more than half of the subjects by ultrasonography; 5.3% had grade II lesions and 1.0% had the most severe grade III changes. Risk factors for morbidity as manifested by ultrasonographically detected PPF were similar to those for infection. Periportal fibrosis had a negative relationship with abdominal pain (OR = 0.45) and hepatomegaly detected by physical examination and ultrasonography (ORs = 0.72 and 0.68), but it was associated with splenomegaly (ORs = 4.14 and 3.55). The prevalence of PPF, hepatomegaly, and splenomegaly increased with age. There was no relationship between community burden of schistosomiasis mansoni and any measurements of morbidity with the exception of splenomegaly detected by physical examination (r = 0.40). Schistosoma mansoni has almost completely replaced S. haematobium in Gharbia, which has a high prevalence and moderate intensity of S. mansoni infection. Periportal fibrosis was detected by ultrasonography in more than half of the subjects, and 1 in 16 had grade II and III lesions. The only relationship between PPF and other morbidity findings was its positive relationship with splenomegaly and negative association with hepatomegaly. Hepatic morbidity is common in communities in Gharbia but the role of schistosomiasis mansoni in this is uncertain.