SCORE Operational Research on Moving toward Interruption of Schistosomiasis Transmission.
ABSTRACT: As part of its diverse portfolio, the Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) included two cluster-randomized trials evaluating interventions that could potentially lead to interruption of schistosomiasis transmission (elimination) in areas of Africa with low prevalence and intensity of infection. These studies, conducted in Zanzibar and Côte d'Ivoire, demonstrated that multiyear mass drug administration (MDA) with praziquantel failed to interrupt the transmission of urogenital schistosomiasis, even when provided biannually and/or supplemented by small-scale implementation of additional interventions. Other SCORE activities related to elimination included a feasibility and acceptability assessment of test-treat-track-test-treat (T5) strategies and mathematical modeling. Future evaluations of interventions to eliminate schistosomiasis should recognize the difficulties inherent in conducting randomized controlled trials on elimination and in measuring small changes where baseline prevalence is low. Highly sensitive and specific diagnostic tests for use in very low-prevalence areas for schistosomiasis are not routinely available, which complicates accurate measurement of infection rates and assessment of changes resulting from interventions in these settings. Although not encountered in these two studies, as prevalence and intensity decrease, political and community commitment to population-wide MDA may decrease. Because of this potential problem, SCORE developed and funded the T5 strategy implemented in Egypt, Kenya, and Tanzania. It is likely that focal MDA campaigns, along with more targeted approaches, including a T5 strategy and snail control, will need to be supplemented with the provision of clean water and sanitation and behavior change communications to achieve interruption of schistosome transmission.
Project description:This report summarizes the design and outcomes of randomized controlled operational research trials performed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) from 2009 to 2019. Their goal was to define the effectiveness and test the limitations of current WHO-recommended schistosomiasis control protocols by performing large-scale pragmatic trials to compare the impact of different schedules and coverage regimens of praziquantel mass drug administration (MDA). Although there were limitations to study designs and performance, analysis of their primary outcomes confirmed that all tested regimens of praziquantel MDA significantly reduced local Schistosoma infection prevalence and intensity among school-age children. Secondary analysis suggested that outcomes in locations receiving four annual rounds of MDA were better than those in communities that had treatment holiday years, in which no praziquantel MDA was given. Statistical significance of differences was obscured by a wider-than-expected variation in community-level responses to MDA, defining a persistent hot spot obstacle to MDA success. No MDA schedule led to elimination of infection, even in those communities that started at low prevalence of infection, and it is likely that programs aiming for elimination of transmission will need to add supplemental interventions (e.g., snail control, improvement in water, sanitation and hygiene, and behavior change interventions) to achieve that next stage of control. Recommendations for future implementation research, including exploration of the value of earlier program impact assessment combined with intensification of intervention in hot spot locations, are discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The World Health Organization (WHO) has set elimination (interruption of transmission) as an end goal for schistosomiasis. However, there is currently little guidance on the monitoring and evaluation strategy required once very low prevalence levels have been reached to determine whether elimination or resurgence of the disease will occur after stopping mass drug administration (MDA) treatment. METHODS:We employ a stochastic individual-based model of Schistosoma mansoni transmission and MDA impact to determine a prevalence threshold, i.e. prevalence of infection, which can be used to determine whether elimination or resurgence will occur after stopping treatment with a given probability. Simulations are run for treatment programmes with varying probabilities of achieving elimination and for settings where adults harbour low to high burdens of infection. Prevalence is measured based on using a single Kato-Katz on two samples per individual. We calculate positive predictive values (PPV) using PPV ≥ 0.9 as a reliable measure corresponding to ≥ 90% certainty of elimination. We analyse when post-treatment surveillance should be carried out to predict elimination. We also determine the number of individuals across a single community (of 500-1000 individuals) that should be sampled to predict elimination. RESULTS:We find that a prevalence threshold of 1% by single Kato-Katz on two samples per individual is optimal for predicting elimination at two years (or later) after the last round of MDA using a sample size of 200 individuals across the entire community (from all ages). This holds regardless of whether the adults have a low or high burden of infection relative to school-aged children. CONCLUSIONS:Using a prevalence threshold of 0.5% is sufficient for surveillance six months after the last round of MDA. However, as such a low prevalence can be difficult to measure in the field using Kato-Katz, we recommend using 1% two years after the last round of MDA. Higher prevalence thresholds of 2% or 5% can be used but require waiting over four years for post-treatment surveillance. Although, for treatment programmes where elimination is highly likely, these higher thresholds could be used sooner. Additionally, switching to more sensitive diagnostic techniques, will allow for a higher prevalence threshold to be employed.
Project description:The Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) conducted large field studies on schistosomiasis control and elimination in Africa. All of these studies, carried out in low-, moderate-, and high-prevalence areas, resulted in a reduction in prevalence and intensity of Schistosoma infection after repeated mass drug administration (MDA). However, in all studies, there were locations that experienced minimal or no decline or even increased in prevalence and/or intensity. These areas are termed persistent hotspots (PHS). In SCORE studies in medium- to high-prevalence areas, at least 30% of study villages were PHS. There was no consistent relationship between PHS and the type or frequency of intervention, adequacy of reported MDA coverage, and prevalence or intensity of infection at baseline. In a series of small studies, factors that differed between PHS and villages that responded to repeated MDA as expected included sources of water for personal use, sanitation, and hygiene. SCORE studies comparing PHS with villages that responded to MDA suggest the potential for PHS to be identified after a few years of MDA. However, additional studies in different social-ecological settings are needed to develop generalizable approaches that program managers can use to identify and address PHS. This is essential if goals for schistosomiasis control and elimination are to be achieved.
Project description:Efforts to control and eliminate human schistosomiasis have accelerated over the past decade. In a number of endemic countries and settings, interruption of schistosome transmission has been achieved. In others, Schistosoma infections continue to challenge program managers at different levels, from the complexity of the transmission cycle, over limited treatment options and lack of field-friendly accurate diagnostics, to controversy around adequate intervention strategies. We conducted a landscape analysis on parasitic and vector-borne disease elimination approaches with the aim to identify evidence-based strategies, core components and key concepts for achieving and sustaining schistosomiasis control and for progressing elimination efforts towards interruption of transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 118 relevant publications were identified from Web of Science, Pubmed and the grey literature and reviewed for their content. In addition, we conducted in-depth interviews with 23 epidemiologists, program managers, policymakers, donors and field researchers. Available evidence emphasizes the need for comprehensive, multipronged and long-term strategies consisting of multiple complementary interventions that must be sustained over time by political commitment and adequate funding in order to reach interruption of transmission. Based on the findings of this landscape analysis, we propose a comprehensive set of intervention strategies for schistosomiasis control and elimination. Before deployment, the proposed interventions will require review, evaluation and validation in the frame of an expert consultation as a step towards adaptation to specific contexts, conditions and settings. Field testing to ensure local relevance and effectiveness is paramount given the diversity of socio-ecological and epidemiological contexts.
Project description:An essential mission of the Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) was to help inform global health practices related to the control and elimination of schistosomiasis. To provide more accurate, evidence-based projections of the most likely impact of different control interventions, whether implemented alone or in combination, SCORE supported mathematical modeling teams to provide simulations of community-level Schistosoma infection outcomes in the setting of real or hypothetical programs implementing multiyear mass drug administration (MDA) for parasite control. These models were calibrated using SCORE experience with Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium gaining and sustaining control studies, and with data from comparable programs that used community-based or school-based praziquantel MDA in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. From 2010 to 2019, models were developed and refined, first to project the likely SCORE control outcomes, and later to more accurately reflect impact of MDA across different transmission settings, including the role of snail ecology and the impact of seasonal rainfall on snail abundance. Starting in 2014, SCORE modeling projections were also compared with the models of colleagues in the Neglected Tropical Diseases Modelling Consortium. To explore further possible improvement to program-based control, later simulations examined the cost-effectiveness of combining MDA with environmental snail control, and the utility of early impact assessment to more quickly identify persistent hot spots of transmission. This article provides a nontechnical summary of the 11 SCORE-related modeling projects and provides links to the original open-access articles describing model development and projections relevant to schistosomiasis control policy.
Project description:In spite of spectacular progress towards the goal of elimination of schistosomiasis, particularly in China but also in other areas, research gaps and outstanding issues remain. Although expectations of achieving elimination of this disease have never been greater, all constraints have not been swept aside. Indeed, there are some formidable obstacles, such as insufficient amounts of drugs to treat everybody and still limited use of high-sensitive diagnostic techniques, both for the definitive and the intermediate hosts, which indicate that prevalence is considerably underrated in well-controlled areas. Elimination will be difficult to achieve without a broad approach, including a stronger focus on transmission, better diagnostics and the establishment of a reliable survey system activating a rapid response when called for. Importantly, awareness of the crucial importance of transmission has been revived resulting in renewed interest in snail control together with more emphasis on health education and sanitation. The papers collected in this special issue entitled 'Prospects for Schistosomiasis Elimination' reflect these issues and we are particularly pleased to note that some also discuss the crucial question when to declare a country free of schistosomiasis and present techniques that together create an approach that can show unequivocally when interruption of transmission has been achieved.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem and interruption of transmission in selected areas are targets set by WHO for 2025. Our aim was to assess biannual mass drug administration (MDA) applied alone or with complementary snail control or behaviour change interventions for the reduction of Schistosoma haematobium prevalence and infection intensity in children from Zanzibar and to compare the effect between the clusters. METHODS:In a 5-year repeated cross-sectional cluster-randomised trial, 90 shehias (small administrative regions; clusters) in Zanzibar eligible owing to available natural open freshwater bodies and public primary schools were randomly allocated (ratio 1:1:1) to receive one of three interventions: biannual MDA with praziquantel alone (arm 1) or in combination with snail control (arm 2), or behaviour change activities (arm 3). Neither participants nor field or laboratory personnel were blinded to the intervention arms. From 2012 to 2017, annually, a single urine sample was collected from approximately 100 children aged 9-12 years in the main public primary school of each shehia. The primary outcome was S haematobium infection prevalence and intensity in 9-12-year-old children after 5 years of follow-up. This study is completed and was registered with the ISRCTN, number 48837681. FINDINGS:The trial was done from Nov 1, 2011, through to Dec 31, 2017 and recruitment took place from Nov 2, 2011, until May 17, 2017. At baseline we enrolled 8278 participants, of whom 2899 (35%) were randomly allocated to arm 1, 2741 (33%) to arm 2, and 2638 (32%) to arm 3. 120 (4·2%) of 2853 in arm 1, 209 (7·8%) of 2688 in arm 2, and 167 (6·4%) of 2613 in arm 3 had S haematobium infections at baseline. Heavy infections (≥50 eggs per 10 mL of urine) were found in 126 (1·6%) of 8073 children at baseline. At the 5-year endline survey, 46 (1·4%) of 3184 in arm 1, 56 (1·7%) of 3217 (odds ratio [OR] 1·2 [95% CI 0·6-2·7] vs arm 1) in arm 2, and 58 (1·9%) of 3080 (1·3 [0·6-2·9]) in arm 3 had S haematobium infections. Heavy infections were detected in 33 (0·3%) of 9462 children. INTERPRETATION:Biannual MDA substantially reduced the S haematobium prevalence and infection intensity but was insufficient to interrupt transmission. Although snail control or behaviour change activities did not significantly boost the effect of MDA in our study, they might enhance interruption of transmission when tailored to focal endemicity and applied for a longer period. It is now necessary to focus on reducing prevalence in remaining hotspot areas and to introduce new methods of surveillance and public health response so that the important gains can be maintained and advanced. FUNDING:University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite control efforts, human schistosomiasis remains prevalent throughout Africa, Asia, and South America. The global schistosomiasis burden has changed little since the new anthelmintic drug, praziquantel, promised widespread control. METHODOLOGY:We evaluated large-scale schistosomiasis control attempts over the past century and across the globe by identifying factors that predict control program success: snail control (e.g., molluscicides or biological control), mass drug administrations (MDA) with praziquantel, or a combined strategy using both. For data, we compiled historical information on control tactics and their quantitative outcomes for all 83 countries and territories in which: (i) schistosomiasis was allegedly endemic during the 20th century, and (ii) schistosomiasis remains endemic, or (iii) schistosomiasis has been "eliminated," or is "no longer endemic," or transmission has been interrupted. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Widespread snail control reduced prevalence by 92 ± 5% (N = 19) vs. 37 ± 7% (N = 29) for programs using little or no snail control. In addition, ecological, economic, and political factors contributed to schistosomiasis elimination. For instance, snail control was most common and widespread in wealthier countries and when control began earlier in the 20th century. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Snail control has been the most effective way to reduce schistosomiasis prevalence. Despite evidence that snail control leads to long-term disease reduction and elimination, most current schistosomiasis control efforts emphasize MDA using praziquantel over snail control. Combining drug-based control programs with affordable snail control seems the best strategy for eliminating schistosomiasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In 2012 the World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA65.21 on elimination of schistosomiasis, calling for increased investment in schistosomiasis control and support for countries to initiate elimination programs. This study aims to analyze prevalence and intensity of Schistosoma mansoni infection in children in Latin America and the Caribbean countries and territories (LAC), at the second administrative level or lower. METHODOLOGY:A systematic review of schistosomiasis prevalence and intensity of infection was conducted by searching at PubMed, LILACS and EMBASE. Experts on the topic were informally consulted and institutional web pages were reviewed (PAHO/WHO, Ministries of Health). Only SCH infection among children was registered because it can be a 'proxi-indicator' of recent transmission by the time the study is conducted. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:One hundred thirty two full-text articles met the inclusion criteria and provided 1,242 prevalence and 199 intensity of infection data points. Most of them were from Brazil (69.7%). Only Brazil published studies after 2001, showing several 'hot spots' with high prevalence. Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname and Saint Lucia need to update the epidemiological status of schistosomiasis to re-design their national programs and target the elimination of Schistosoma mansoni transmission by 2020. In Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat and Puerto Rico schistosomiasis transmission may be interrupted. However the compilation of an elimination dossier and follow-up surveys, per WHO recommendations, are needed to verify that status. Hence, the burden of subtle SCH chronic infection may be still present and even high in countries that may have eliminated transmission. Heterogeneity in the methodologies used for monitoring and evaluating the progress of the schistosomiasis programs was found, making cross-national and chronological comparisons difficult. CONCLUSIONS:There is a need for updating the schistosomiasis status in the historically endemic countries and territories in LAC to address the required public health interventions for control and elimination programs or to verify the elimination of transmission of Schistosoma mansoni. Improved reporting and standardization of the monitoring and evaluation methodologies used are recommended, while using available WHO guidelines. Meeting a regional elimination goal will require additional and improved epidemiological data by age group and sex.
Project description:The Global Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) has been in operation since the year 2000, with the aim of eliminating the disease by the year 2020, following five to six rounds of effective annual mass drug administration (MDA). The treatment regimen is ivermectin (IVM) in combination with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) or albendazole (ALB). In Ghana, MDA has been undertaken since 2001. While the disease has been eliminated in many areas, transmission has persisted in some implementation units that had experienced 15 or more rounds of MDA. Thus, new intervention strategies could eliminate residual infection in areas of persistent transmission and speed up the lymphatic filariasis (LF)-elimination process. This study, therefore, seeks to test the hypothesis that biannual treatment of LF-endemic communities will accelerate the interruption of LF in areas of persistent transmission.A cluster randomised trial will be implemented in LF-endemic communities in Ghana. The interventions will be yearly or twice-yearly MDA delivered to entire endemic communities. Allocation to study group will be by clusters identified using the prevalence of LF. Clusters will be randomised to one of two groups: receiving either (1) annual treatment with IVM?+?ALB or (2) annual MDA with IVM?+?ALB, followed by an additional MDA 6 months later. The primary outcome measure is the prevalence of LF infection, assessed by four cross-sectional surveys. Entomological assessments will also be undertaken to evaluate the transmission intensity of the disease in the study clusters. Costs and cost-effectiveness will be evaluated. Among a random subsample of participants, microfilaria prevalence will be assessed longitudinally. A nested process evaluation, using semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and a stakeholder analysis, will investigate the community acceptability, feasibility and scale-up of each delivery system.It is expected that this study will add to the existing evidence on the need for alternative intervention strategies for the elimination of LF in Ghana and in other African countries that are facing similar challenges or are at the beginning of their LF-elimination programmes.ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03036059 . Registered on 26 January 2017. Pan African Clinical Trials Registry, ID: PACTR201702002012425 . Registered on 23 February 2017.