Background Intestinal schistosomiasis is one of the most common neglected tropical diseases in Tanzania. Despite massive praziquantel administration, data from Northern Tanzania have reported a prevalence of up to 93.2%. Because the disease is focal, depending on host, environmental and intermediate host factors, there is a need to acquire data in specific settings to better tailor interventions. Therefore, the study assessed the prevalence and factors associated with persistent transmission of intestinal schistosomiasis among school-age children in Busega district, Northern Tanzania.
Methods A school-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 363 primary school children, randomly selected from school clusters in the Busega district. A single stool sample was collected from each child for S. mansoni ova and infection intensity examination using Kato-Katz. Factors related to intestinal schistosomiasis transmission were acquired through a questionnaire. A malacological survey was carried out to determine the Biomphalaria infectivity rate. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were conducted to analyze the association between schistosoma infection and factors related to transmission in this setting.
Results Prevalence of S. mansoni infection was 41.3% (95% CI: 36.3-46.5), higher among male and statistically significantly higher among the younger group aged less than 11 years (46.4% vs 35.3%, p=0.032). Intensity of infection was high in 1.6%, moderate in 9.6% and light in 30.9%. Studying at Mwamayombo Primary School (AOR= 2.50, 95% CI: 1.12-5.60) was the only factors significantly associated with S. mansoni infestations. Snail intermediate host was Biomphalaria sudanica snails whose infectivity rate was 0.97% confirming ongoing transmission in the area.
Conclusions There was a high prevalence of S. mansoni infection (41.3%) among school age children in Busega district. The presence of the infected Biomphalaria sudanica document persistent transmission, favoured by low knowledge and negative attitudes among school aged children. Hence, the need of multi-approach intervention for schistosomiasis prevention and elimination.
Keywords: Schistosoma mansoni; Biomphalaria; Knowledge, attitude and practices; Busega district; Northern Tanzania