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Geographical analysis of the role of water supply and sanitation in the risk of helminth infections of children in West Africa

By Ricardo J. Soares Magalhães, Adrian G. Barnett and Archie C. A. Clements


Globally, inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are major contributors to mortality and burden of disease. We aimed to quantify the role of WASH in the risk of Schistosoma hematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, and hookworm infection in school-aged children; to estimate the population attributable fraction (PAF) of helminth infection due to WASH; and to spatially predict the risk of infection. We generated predictive maps of areas in West Africa without piped water, toilet facilities, and improved household floor types, using spatial risk models. Our maps identified areas in West Africa where the millennium development goal for water and sanitation is lagging behind. There was a generally better geographical coverage for toilets and improved household floor types compared with water supply. These predictions, and their uncertainty, were then used as covariates in Bayesian geostatistical models for the three helminth species. We estimated a smaller attributable fraction for water supply in S. mansoni (PAF 47%) compared with S. hematobium (PAF 71%). The attributable fraction of S. hematobium infection due to natural floor type (PAF 21%) was comparable to that of S. mansoni (PAF 16%), but was significantly higher for hookworm infection (PAF 86%). Five percent of hookworm cases could have been prevented if improved toilet facilities had been available. Mapping the distribution of infection risk adjusted for WASH allowed the identification of communities in West Africa where preventive chemotherapy integrated with interventions to improve WASH will yield the greatest health benefits

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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