Except in Japan, Lebanon, Montserrat and Tunisia, where the disease has disappeared altogether, WHO's control strategy is to reduce the amount of disease caused by schistosomiasis rather than to halt transmission entirely. According to the findings of a WHO Expert Committee published in 1993:
· Controlling morbidity with drug treatment is a feasible and effective strategy. Other major interventions are health education and provision of safe water.
· Schistosomiasis control is optimal when it is part of the general health care system and when the primary health care system performs specific control tasks.
· Approaches differ for controlling the various forms of schistosomiasis and must be adapted according to the epidemiology, resources and culture of each country.
· Schistosomiasis control is a long-term commitment. While short-term objectives to reduce prevalence can be achieved (up to 75% within two years in many endemic areas), surveillance and maintenance must continue for 10-20 years.
For further information, please contact Health Communications and Public Relations, WHO Geneva, Tel (4122) 791 3221 or fax 791 4858; or Dr Lorenzo Savioli, Division of Control of Tropical Diseases/Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Parasites Unit, Tel (4122) 791 2664 or Fax 791 4869. All WHO press releases, fact sheets and features are available on the Internet on the WHO Home Page http: //www.who.ch/
© WHO/OMS, 1998