Can mass drug administration lead to the sustainable control of schistosomiasis?

J Infect Dis. 2015 Jan 15;211(2):283-9. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu416. Epub 2014 Jul 28.


Background: In the Philippines, the current national control strategy for schistosomiasis is annual mass drug administration (MDA) with 40 mg/kg of praziquantel in all schistosomiasis-endemic villages with a prevalence ≥10%.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of schistosomiasis was conducted in 2012 on 18 221 individuals residing in 22 schistosomiasis-endemic villages in the province of Northern Samar. The prevalence of schistosomiasis, intensity of Schistosoma infection, and morbidity of disease were assessed.

Results: Despite an active schistosomiasis-control program in Northern Samar for >30 years, which included a MDA campaign in the last 5 years, the mean prevalence of schistosomiasis among 10 435 evaluated subjects was 27.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 26.3%-28.0%), and the geometric mean intensity of infection among 2832 evaluated subjects was 17.2 eggs per gram of feces (95% CI, 16.4-18.1). Ultrasonography revealed high levels of schistosomiasis-induced morbidity in the schistosomiasis-endemic communities. Left lobe liver enlargement (≥70 mm) was evident in 89.3% of subjects. Twenty-five percent of the study population had grade II/III liver parenchyma fibrosis, and 13.3% had splenomegaly (≥100 mm).

Conclusions: MDA on its own was insufficient to control the prevalence of schistosomiasis, intensity of Schistosoma infection, or morbidity of the disease. Alternative control measures will be needed to complement the existing national MDA program.

Keywords: control; elimination; mass drug administration (MDA); schistosomiasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Philippines / epidemiology
  • Praziquantel / administration & dosage*
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population
  • Schistosomiasis / drug therapy*
  • Schistosomiasis / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Anthelmintics
  • Praziquantel