Swamp Rice Farming: Possible Effects on Endemicity of Schistosomiasis Mansoni and Haematobia in a Population in Liberia

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  • 1 Division of Geographic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
  • Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research, Robertsfield, Liberia

To obtain a better understanding of the possible influence of swamp rice farming on the patterns of Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium infections, the populations of two communities in rural liberia were studied. In one village, Balama (population of 435), swamp rice farms were initiated six years before the survey; in the other nearby community, Gbarta (population of 216), swamp rice farms had not yet been initiated. The prevalence of S. mansoni infection in Balama was 87% vs. 9% in Gbarta (P < 0.01). The geometric and arithmetic mean egg counts for all infected subjects in Balama were respectively 263 and 671/g feces. In Gbarta, the geometric and arithmetic mean egg counts were 150 and 129/g feces. S. haematobium eggs were detected in 42% of subjects in Balama vs. 11% in Gbarta (P < 0.01). Hematuria correlated with the presence of S. haematobium eggs in urine. These data indicate that there is a significantly higher prevalence and intensity of schistosomiasis mansoni and haematobia in a community where swamp rice farming has been utilized for 6 years compared to a nearby village where this water irrigation and drainage practice has not yet been implemented.