Chronic intestinal schistosomiasis can cause severe hepatosplenic disease and is a neglected tropical disease of public health importance in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya. Although the goal of control programs is to reduce morbidity, milestones for program performance focus on reductions in prevalence and intensity of infection, rather than actual measures of morbidity. Using ultrasound to measure hepatosplenic disease severity is an accepted method of determining schistosomiasis-related morbidity; however, ultrasound has not historically been considered a field-deployable tool because of equipment limitations and unavailability of expertise. A point-of-care tablet-based ultrasound system was used to perform abdominal ultrasounds in a field investigation of schistosomiasis-related morbidity in western Kenya; during the study, other pathologies and pregnancies were also identified via ultrasound, and participants referred to care. Recent technological advances may make it more feasible to implement ultrasound as part of a control program and can also offer important benefits to the community.
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Financial support: This work received financial support from the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), which is funded at The Task Force for Global Health primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, by U.K. Aid from the British government, and by the U.S. Agency for International Development through its Neglected Tropical Diseases Program.