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2.  Epidemiology and individual, household and geographical risk factors of podoconiosis in Ethiopia: results from the first nationwide mapping 
Although podoconiosis is one of the major causes of tropical lymphoedema and is endemic in Ethiopia its epidemiology and risk factors are poorly understood. Individual level data for 129,959 individuals from 1,315 communities in 659 woreda (districts) were collected for nationwide integrated survey of lymphatic filariasis and podoconiosis. Blood samples were tested for circulating Wuchereria bancrofti antigen using immunochromatographic card tests. A clinical algorithm was used to reach a diagnosis of podoconiosis by excluding other potential causes of lymphoedema of the lower limb. Bayesian multilevel models were used to identify individual and environmental risk factors. Overall, 8,110 of 129,959 (6.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.1 - 6.4%) surveyed individuals were identified with lymphoedema of the lower limb, of whom 5,253 (4.0%, 95% CI 3.9 - 4.1%) were confirmed to be podoconiosis cases. In multivariable analysis, being female, older, unmarried, washing the feet less frequently than daily, and being semiskilled or unemployed were significantly associated with increased risk of podoconiosis. Attending formal education and living in a house with a covered floor were associated with decreased risk of podoconiosis. Podoconiosis exhibits marked geographical variation across Ethiopia, with variation in risk associated with variation in rainfall, enhanced vegetation index and altitude.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0446
PMCID: PMC4288951  PMID: 25404069
podoconiosis; mapping; non-filarial elephantiasis; lymphoedema; Ethiopia
3.  Malaria in school-age children in Africa: an increasingly important challenge 
School-age children have attracted relatively little attention as a group in need of special measures to protect them against malaria. However, increasing success in lowering the level of malaria transmission in many previously highly endemic areas will result in children acquiring immunity to malaria later in life than has been the case in the past. Thus, it can be anticipated that in the coming years there will be an increase in the incidence of both uncomplicated and severe malaria in school-age children in many previously highly endemic areas. In this review, which focuses primarily on Africa, recent data on the prevalence of malaria parasitaemia and on the incidence of clinical malaria in African school-age children are presented and evidence that malaria adversely effects school performance is reviewed. Long-lasting insecticide treated bednets (LLIN) are an effective method of malaria control but several studies have shown that school-age children use LLINs less frequently than other population groups. Antimalarial drugs are being used in different ways to control malaria in school-age children including screening and treatment and intermittent preventive treatment. Some studies of chemoprevention in school-age children have shown reductions in anaemia and improved school performance but this has not been the case in all trials and more research is needed to identify the situations in which chemoprevention is likely to be most effective and, in these situations, which type of intervention should be used. In the longer term, malaria vaccines may have an important role in protecting this important section of the community from malaria. Regardless of the control approach selected, it is important this is incorporated into the overall programme of measures being undertaken to enhance the health of African school-age children.
doi:10.1111/tmi.12374
PMCID: PMC4285305  PMID: 25145389
malaria; school-age children; Africa
4.  Association between Footwear Use and Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Background
The control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has primarily focused on preventive chemotherapy and case management. Less attention has been placed on the role of ensuring access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene and personal preventive measures in reducing exposure to infection. Our aim was to assess whether footwear use was associated with a lower risk of selected NTDs.
Methodology
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the association between footwear use and infection or disease for those NTDs for which the route of transmission or occurrence may be through the feet. We included Buruli ulcer, cutaneous larva migrans (CLM), leptospirosis, mycetoma, myiasis, podoconiosis, snakebite, tungiasis, and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections, particularly hookworm infection and strongyloidiasis. We searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane, Web of Science, CINAHL Plus, and Popline databases, contacted experts, and hand-searched reference lists for eligible studies. The search was conducted in English without language, publication status, or date restrictions up to January 2014. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they reported a measure of the association between footwear use and the risk of each NTD. Publication bias was assessed using funnel plots. Descriptive study characteristics and methodological quality of the included studies were summarized. For each study outcome, both outcome and exposure data were abstracted and crude and adjusted effect estimates presented. Individual and summary odds ratio (OR) estimates and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated as a measure of intervention effect, using random effects meta-analyses.
Principal Findings
Among the 427 studies screened, 53 met our inclusion criteria. Footwear use was significantly associated with a lower odds of infection of Buruli ulcer (OR = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.08–0.29), CLM (OR = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.06–0.96), tungiasis (OR = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.26–0.70), hookworm infection (OR = 0.48; 95% CI: 0.37–0.61), any STH infection (OR = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.39–0.84), strongyloidiasis (OR = 0.56; 95% CI: 0.38–0.83), and leptospirosis (OR = 0.59; 95% CI: 0.37–0.94). No significant association between footwear use and podoconiosis (OR = 0.63; 95% CI: 0.38–1.05) was found and no data were available for mycetoma, myiasis, and snakebite. The main limitations were evidence of heterogeneity and poor study quality inherent to the observational studies included.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results show that footwear use was associated with a lower odds of several different NTDs. Access to footwear should be prioritized alongside existing NTD interventions to ensure a lasting reduction of multiple NTDs and to accelerate their control and elimination.
Protocol Registration
PROSPERO International prospective register of systematic reviews CRD42012003338
Author Summary
Consistent use of footwear may help in preventing or slowing down the progression of many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the association between footwear use and infection or disease for those NTDs for which the route of transmission or occurrence may be through the feet. We found that footwear use reduces the risk of Buruli ulcer, tungiasis, hookworm, any STH infection, strongyloidiasis, and leptospirosis. No significant association between footwear use and podoconiosis was found and no data were available for mycetoma, myiasis or snakebite. We recommend that access to footwear should be prioritized alongside existing NTD interventions to ensure a lasting reduction of multiple NTDs and to accelerate their control and elimination.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003285
PMCID: PMC4230915  PMID: 25393620
5.  The Impact of a School-Based Hygiene, Water Quality and Sanitation Intervention on Soil-Transmitted Helminth Reinfection: A Cluster-Randomized Trial 
We conducted a cluster-randomized trial to assess the impact of a school-based water treatment, hygiene, and sanitation program on reducing infection with soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) after school-based deworming. We assessed infection with STHs at baseline and then at two follow-up rounds 8 and 10 months after deworming. Forty government primary schools in Nyanza Province, Kenya were randomly selected and assigned to intervention or control arms. The intervention reduced reinfection prevalence (odds ratio [OR] 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31–1.00) and egg count (rate ratio [RR] 0.34, CI 0.15–0.75) of Ascaris lumbricoides. We found no evidence of significant intervention effects on the overall prevalence and intensity of Trichuris trichiura, hookworm, or Schistosoma mansoni reinfection. Provision of school-based sanitation, water quality, and hygiene improvements may reduce reinfection of STHs after school-based deworming, but the magnitude of the effects may be sex- and helminth species-specific.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0237
PMCID: PMC3820330  PMID: 24019429
6.  The global distribution and transmission limits of lymphatic filariasis: past and present 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7(1):466.
Background
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is one of the neglected tropical diseases targeted for global elimination by 2020 and to guide elimination efforts countries have, in recent years, conducted extensive mapping surveys. Documenting the past and present distribution of LF and its environmental limits is important for a number of reasons. Here, we present an initiative to develop a global atlas of LF and present a new global map of the limits of LF transmission.
Methods
We undertook a systematic search and assembly of prevalence data worldwide and used a suite of environmental and climatic data and boosted regression trees (BRT) modelling to map the transmission limits of LF.
Results
Data were identified for 66 of the 72 countries currently endemic and for a further 17 countries where LF is no longer endemic. Our map highlights a restricted and highly heterogeneous distribution in sub-Saharan Africa, with transmission more widespread in West Africa compared to east, central and southern Africa where pockets of transmission occur. Contemporary transmission occurs across much of south and South-east Asia and the Pacific. Interestingly, the risk map reflects environmental conditions suitable for LF transmission across Central and South America, including the southern States of America, although active transmission is only known in a few isolated foci. In countries that have eliminated LF, our predictions of environmental suitability are consistent with historical distribution.
Conclusions
The global distribution of LF is highly heterogeneous and geographically targeted and sustained control will be required to achieve elimination. This first global map can help evaluate the progress of interventions and guide surveillance activities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0466-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0466-x
PMCID: PMC4197264  PMID: 25303991
Lymphatic filariasis; Global distribution; Transmission limits; Boosted regression tree modelling
7.  Sensitivity of diagnostic tests for human soil-transmitted helminth infections: a meta-analysis in the absence of a true gold standard 
Highlights
•A Bayesian latent class meta-analysis of diagnostic tests for soil-transmitted helminths was performed.•Overall sensitivity of evaluated diagnostic tests was low.•Test performance was strongly influenced by intensity of infection.•FLOTAC method sensitivity was highest overall and in both intensity groups.•The performance of the Kato-Katz method in high intensity settings was acceptable.
Reliable, sensitive and practical diagnostic tests are an essential tool in disease control programmes for mapping, impact evaluation and surveillance. To provide a robust global assessment of the relative performance of available diagnostic tools for the detection of soil-transmitted helminths, we conducted a meta-analysis comparing the sensitivities and the quantitative performance of the most commonly used copro-microscopic diagnostic methods for soil-transmitted helminths, namely Kato-Katz, direct microscopy, formol-ether concentration, McMaster, FLOTAC and Mini-FLOTAC. In the absence of a perfect reference standard, we employed a Bayesian latent class analysis to estimate the true, unobserved sensitivity of compared diagnostic tests for each of the soil-transmitted helminth species Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and the hookworms. To investigate the influence of varying transmission settings we subsequently stratified the analysis by intensity of infection. Overall, sensitivity estimates varied between the different methods, ranging from 42.8% for direct microscopy to 92.7% for FLOTAC. The widely used double slide Kato-Katz method had a sensitivity of 74–95% for the three soil-transmitted helminth species at high infection intensity, however sensitivity dropped to 53–80% in low intensity settings, being lowest for hookworm and A. lumbricoides. The highest sensitivity, overall and in both intensity groups, was observed for the FLOTAC method, whereas the sensitivity of the Mini-FLOTAC method was comparable with the Kato-Katz method. FLOTAC average egg count estimates were significantly lower compared with Kato-Katz, while the compared McMaster counts varied. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the Kato-Katz and Mini-FLOTAC methods had comparable sensitivities. We further show that test sensitivity of the Kato-Katz method is reduced in low transmission settings.
doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.05.009
PMCID: PMC4186778  PMID: 24992655
Soil transmitted helminths; Diagnostics; Meta-analysis; Latent class analysis
8.  Cystic echinococcosis in Mundari tribe-members of South Sudan 
Pathogens and Global Health  2013;107(6):293-298.
Many neglected tropical diseases, including the zoonotic disease cystic echinococcosis (hydatidosis), are endemic to East Africa. However, their geographical distribution is heterogenous and incompletely characterized. The aim of this study was to determine if Mundari pastoralists harbor endemic human hydatidosis. The survey was conducted in cattle camps randomly selected from accessible sites provided by officials in Terekeka, South Sudan. Following informed consent, a questionnaire collected demographic data and hydatid exposure risk. A systematic sonographic abdominal exam was performed using General Electric’s LOGIQ Book XP with a 3C-RS 2–5 MHz curvilinear transducer. Six hundred and ten individuals were screened from 13 camps. Four infections were identified, all in women. The prevalence of abdominal hydatid disease in the Mundari tribe-members in cattle camps was 0.7% and all individuals reporting at least one high-risk exposure to hydatid disease. Cystic echinococcosis is endemic among Mundari pastoralists; however, it would appear to be less endemic than in neighboring tribes.
doi:10.1179/2047773213Y.0000000111
PMCID: PMC4001608  PMID: 24139620
Echinococcus/echinococcosis; Hydatid/hydatidosis; East Africa; Pastoral; Ultrasound/sonographic; Zoonotic/zoonosis
9.  Integrated mapping of lymphatic filariasis and podoconiosis: lessons learnt from Ethiopia 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7(1):397.
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO), international donors and partners have emphasized the importance of integrated control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Integrated mapping of NTDs is a first step for integrated planning of programmes, proper resource allocation and monitoring progress of control. Integrated mapping has several advantages over disease specific mapping by reducing costs and enabling co-endemic areas to be more precisely identified. We designed and conducted integrated mapping of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and podoconiosis in Ethiopia; here we present the methods, challenges and lessons learnt.
Methods
Integrated mapping of 1315 communities across Ethiopia was accomplished within three months. Within these communities, 129,959 individuals provided blood samples that were tested for circulating Wuchereria bancrofti antigen using immunochromatographic card tests (ICT). Wb123 antibody tests were used to further establish exposure to LF in areas where at least one ICT positive individual was detected. A clinical algorithm was used to reliably diagnose podoconiosis by excluding other potential causes of lymphoedema of the lower limb.
Results
A total of 8110 individuals with leg swelling were interviewed and underwent physical examination. Smartphones linked to a central database were used to collect data, which facilitated real-time data entry and reduced costs compared to traditional paper-based data collection approach; their inbuilt Geographic Positioning System (GPS) function enabled simultaneous capture of geographical coordinates. The integrated approach led to efficient use of resources and rapid mapping of an enormous geographical area and was well received by survey staff and collaborators. Mobile based technology can be used for such large scale studies in resource constrained settings such as Ethiopia, with minimal challenges.
Conclusions
This was the first integrated mapping of podoconiosis and LF globally. Integrated mapping of podoconiosis and LF is feasible and, if properly planned, can be quickly achieved at nationwide scale.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-397) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-397
PMCID: PMC4153915  PMID: 25164687
Integrated; Mapping; Lymphedema; Elephantiasis; Lymphatic filariasis; Podoconiosis; Ethiopia
11.  Can chemotherapy alone eliminate the transmission of soil transmitted helminths? 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7:266.
Background
Amongst the world’s poorest populations, availability of anthelmintic treatments for the control of soil transmitted helminths (STH) by mass or targeted chemotherapy has increased dramatically in recent years. However, the design of community based treatment programmes to achieve the greatest impact on transmission is still open to debate. Questions include: who should be treated, how often should they be treated, how long should treatment be continued for?
Methods
Simulation and analysis of a dynamic transmission model and novel data analyses suggest refinements of the World Health Organization guidelines for the community based treatment of STH.
Results
This analysis shows that treatment levels and frequency must be much higher, and the breadth of coverage across age classes broader than is typically the current practice, if transmission is to be interrupted by mass chemotherapy alone.
Conclusions
When planning interventions to reduce transmission, rather than purely to reduce morbidity, current school-based interventions are unlikely to be enough to achieve the desired results.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-266
PMCID: PMC4079919  PMID: 24916278
Soil-transmitted helminths; Chemotherapy; Elimination; Mathematical modelling
12.  Diagnostic Accuracy and Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Methods for Detection of Soil-Transmitted Helminths in a Post-Treatment Setting in Western Kenya 
Objectives
This study evaluates the diagnostic accuracy and cost-effectiveness of the Kato-Katz and Mini-FLOTAC methods for detection of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) in a post-treatment setting in western Kenya. A cost analysis also explores the cost implications of collecting samples during school surveys when compared to household surveys.
Methods
Stool samples were collected from children (n = 652) attending 18 schools in Bungoma County and diagnosed by the Kato-Katz and Mini-FLOTAC coprological methods. Sensitivity and additional diagnostic performance measures were analyzed using Bayesian latent class modeling. Financial and economic costs were calculated for all survey and diagnostic activities, and cost per child tested, cost per case detected and cost per STH infection correctly classified were estimated. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the impact of various survey parameters on cost estimates.
Results
Both diagnostic methods exhibited comparable sensitivity for detection of any STH species over single and consecutive day sampling: 52.0% for single day Kato-Katz; 49.1% for single-day Mini-FLOTAC; 76.9% for consecutive day Kato-Katz; and 74.1% for consecutive day Mini-FLOTAC. Diagnostic performance did not differ significantly between methods for the different STH species. Use of Kato-Katz with school-based sampling was the lowest cost scenario for cost per child tested ($10.14) and cost per case correctly classified ($12.84). Cost per case detected was lowest for Kato-Katz used in community-based sampling ($128.24). Sensitivity analysis revealed the cost of case detection for any STH decreased non-linearly as prevalence rates increased and was influenced by the number of samples collected.
Conclusions
The Kato-Katz method was comparable in diagnostic sensitivity to the Mini-FLOTAC method, but afforded greater cost-effectiveness. Future work is required to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of STH surveillance in different settings.
Author Summary
Accurate methods of diagnosis and optimal strategies to sample the population are essential for the reliable mapping and surveillance of infectious diseases. The current standard for detection of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) entails use of the Kato-Katz diagnostic method. Alternative diagnostic methods, such as flotation techniques like the Mini-FLOTAC, have been developed with hopes of achieving greater sensitivity and ease of use. Here, we evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the Kato-Katz method and the Mini-FLOTAC method for detecting STH infection. We use Bayesian latent class modeling to calculate the diagnostic accuracy in the absence of a gold-standard method for STH detection. Stool samples were collected from school-age children using school-based and community-based sampling. We present cost estimates for use of the Kato-Katz and Mini-FLOTAC diagnostic methods in combination with both sampling methods, providing cost data for the various survey scenarios. Sensitivity was comparable between the Kato-Katz and Mini-FLOTAC methods for detection of any STH species over a single day (Kato Katz: 52.0%, Mini-FLOTAC: 49.1%) and consecutive days (Kato-Katz: 76.9%, Mini-FLOTAC: 74.1%). Costs were lowest in scenarios using the Kato-Katz method; cost per child tested and cost per case correctly classified for school-based sampling with the Kato-Katz diagnostic were $10.14 and $12.84 respectively. The lowest cost per case detected was $128.24 with community-based sampling and use of Kato-Katz. Further work is required on the cost-effectiveness of diagnostic and sampling methods for STH surveys and surveillance of other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in various settings. To this end, we provide the model code used in the diagnostic analysis and a costing template for STH surveys.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002843
PMCID: PMC4014443  PMID: 24810593
13.  Geographical Inequalities in Use of Improved Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation across Sub-Saharan Africa: Mapping and Spatial Analysis of Cross-sectional Survey Data 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(4):e1001626.
Using cross-sectional survey data, Rachel Pullan and colleagues map geographical inequalities in use of improved drinking water supply and sanitation across sub-Saharan Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Understanding geographic inequalities in coverage of drinking-water supply and sanitation (WSS) will help track progress towards universal coverage of water and sanitation by identifying marginalized populations, thus helping to control a large number of infectious diseases. This paper uses household survey data to develop comprehensive maps of WSS coverage at high spatial resolution for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Analysis is extended to investigate geographic heterogeneity and relative geographic inequality within countries.
Methods and Findings
Cluster-level data on household reported use of improved drinking-water supply, sanitation, and open defecation were abstracted from 138 national surveys undertaken from 1991–2012 in 41 countries. Spatially explicit logistic regression models were developed and fitted within a Bayesian framework, and used to predict coverage at the second administrative level (admin2, e.g., district) across SSA for 2012. Results reveal substantial geographical inequalities in predicted use of water and sanitation that exceed urban-rural disparities. The average range in coverage seen between admin2 within countries was 55% for improved drinking water, 54% for use of improved sanitation, and 59% for dependence upon open defecation. There was also some evidence that countries with higher levels of inequality relative to coverage in use of an improved drinking-water source also experienced higher levels of inequality in use of improved sanitation (rural populations r = 0.47, p = 0.002; urban populations r = 0.39, p = 0.01). Results are limited by the quantity of WSS data available, which varies considerably by country, and by the reliability and utility of available indicators.
Conclusions
This study identifies important geographic inequalities in use of WSS previously hidden within national statistics, confirming the necessity for targeted policies and metrics that reach the most marginalized populations. The presented maps and analysis approach can provide a mechanism for monitoring future reductions in inequality within countries, reflecting priorities of the post-2015 development agenda.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Access to a safe drinking-water supply (a water source that is protected from contamination) and to adequate sanitation facilities (toilets, improved latrines, and other facilities that prevent people coming into contact with human urine and feces) is essential for good health. Unimproved drinking-water sources and sanitation are responsible for 85% of deaths from diarrhea and 1% of the global burden of disease. They also increase the transmission of parasitic worms and other neglected tropical diseases. In 2000, world leaders set a target of reducing the proportion of the global population without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to half of the 1990 level by 2015 as part of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 (“Ensure environmental sustainability”; the MDGs are designed to improve the social, economic, and health conditions in the world's poorest countries). Between 1990 and 2010, more than 2 billion people gained access to improved drinking-water sources and 1.8 billion gained access to improved sanitation. In 2011, 89% of the world's population had access to an improved drinking-water supply, 1% above the MDG target, and 64% had access to improved sanitation (the MDG target is 75%).
Why Was This Study Done?
Despite these encouraging figures, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) estimates that, globally, 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources, 2.5 billion people did not use an improved sanitation facility, and more than 1 billion people (15% of the global population) were defecating in the open in 2011. The JMP estimates for 2011 also reveal national and sub-national inequalities in drinking-water supply and sanitation coverage but a better understanding of geographic inequalities is needed to track progress towards universal coverage of access to improved water and sanitation and to identify the populations that need the most help to achieve this goal. Here, the researchers use cross-sectional household survey data and modern statistical approaches to produce a comprehensive map of the coverage of improved drinking-water supply and improved sanitation at high spatial resolution for sub-Saharan Africa and to investigate geographic inequalities in coverage. Cross-sectional household surveys collect health and other information from households at a single time-point, including data on use of safe water and improved sanitation.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted data on reported household use of an improved drinking-water supply (for example, a piped water supply), improved sanitation facilities (for example, a flushing toilet), and open defecation from 138 national household surveys undertaken between 1991 and 2012 in 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. They developed statistical models to fit these data and used the models to estimate coverage at the district (second administrative) level across sub-Saharan Africa for 2012. For ten countries, the estimated coverage of access to improved drinking water at the district level within individual countries ranged from less than 25% to more than 75%. Within-country ranges of a similar magnitude were estimated for coverage of access to improved sanitation (21 countries) and for open defecation (16 countries). Notably, rural households in the districts with the lowest coverage of access to improved water supply and sanitation within a country were 1.5–8 times less likely to access improved drinking water, 2–18 times less likely to access improved sanitation, and 2–80 times more likely to defecate in the open than rural households in districts with the best coverage. Finally, countries with high levels of inequality in improved drinking-water source coverage also experienced high levels of inequality in improved sanitation coverage.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings identify important geographic inequalities in the coverage of access to improved water sources and sanitation that were previously hidden within national statistics. The accuracy of these findings depends on the accuracy of the data on water supplies and sanitation provided by household surveys, on the researchers' definitions for improved water supplies and sanitation, and on their statistical methods. Nevertheless, these findings confirm that, to achieve universal coverage of access to improved drinking-water sources and sanitation, strategies that target the areas with the lowest coverage are essential. Moreover, the maps and the analytical approach presented here provide the means for monitoring future reductions in inequalities in the coverage of access to improved water sources and sanitation and thus reflect a major priority of the post-2015 development agenda.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001626.
A PLOS Medicine Collection on water and sanitation is available
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on water, sanitation, and health (in several languages)
The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation is the official United Nations mechanism tasked with monitoring progress toward MDG7, Target 7B; the JMP 2013 update report is available online (also available in French and Spanish through the JMP website)
The sub-national predictions resulting from this study and the final sub-national maps are available as a resource for researchers and planners
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001626
PMCID: PMC3979660  PMID: 24714528
14.  Impact of Intermittent Preventive Treatment With Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine on Malaria in Ugandan Schoolchildren: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial 
Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine administered at monthly intervals, but not that dosed once a school term, is a remarkably effective measure for the prevention of incidence of malaria, prevalence of parasitemia, and prevalence of anemia in schoolchildren living in a high-transmission setting.
Background. Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) in schoolchildren offers a promising option for malaria control. However, the optimal drug and dosing regimens for IPT remain to be determined.
Methods. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 740 schoolchildren aged 6–14 years living in a setting of high malaria transmission in Uganda. Enrolled children were randomized to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) given once a month (IPTm), DP given once a school term (4 treatments over 12 months, IPTst), or placebo and followed for 12 months. The primary outcome was the incidence of malaria over 12 months. Secondary outcomes included parasite prevalence and anemia over 12 months. Analyses were conducted on an intention-to-treat basis.
Results. In the placebo arm, the incidence of malaria was 0.34 episodes per person-year and the prevalence of parasitemia and anemia was 38% and 20%, respectively. IPTm reduced the incidence of malaria by 96% (95% confidence interval [CI], 88%–99%, P < .0001), the prevalence of asymptomatic parasitemia by 94% (95% CI, 92%–96%, P < .0001), and the prevalence of anemia by 40% (95% CI, 19%–56%, P < .0001). IPTst had no significant effect on the incidence of symptomatic malaria or the prevalence of anemia, but reduced the prevalence of asymptomatic parasitemia by 54% (95% CI, 47%–60%, P < .0001).
Conclusions. Monthly IPT with DP offered remarkable protection against clinical malaria, parasitemia, and anemia in schoolchildren living in a high-malaria-transmission setting.
Clinical Trials Registration.  NCT01231880.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciu150
PMCID: PMC4001293  PMID: 24621953
malaria; intermittent preventive treatment; schoolchildren
15.  Impact of Intermittent Screening and Treatment for Malaria among School Children in Kenya: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001594.
Katherine Halliday and colleagues conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial in Kenyan school children in an area of low to moderate malaria transmission to investigate the effect of intermittent screening and treatment of malaria on health and education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Improving the health of school-aged children can yield substantial benefits for cognitive development and educational achievement. However, there is limited experimental evidence of the benefits of alternative school-based malaria interventions or how the impacts of interventions vary according to intensity of malaria transmission. We investigated the effect of intermittent screening and treatment (IST) for malaria on the health and education of school children in an area of low to moderate malaria transmission.
Methods and Findings
A cluster randomised trial was implemented with 5,233 children in 101 government primary schools on the south coast of Kenya in 2010–2012. The intervention was delivered to children randomly selected from classes 1 and 5 who were followed up for 24 months. Once a school term, children were screened by public health workers using malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), and children (with or without malaria symptoms) found to be RDT-positive were treated with a six dose regimen of artemether-lumefantrine (AL). Given the nature of the intervention, the trial was not blinded. The primary outcomes were anaemia and sustained attention. Secondary outcomes were malaria parasitaemia and educational achievement. Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis.
During the intervention period, an average of 88.3% children in intervention schools were screened at each round, of whom 17.5% were RDT-positive. 80.3% of children in the control and 80.2% in the intervention group were followed-up at 24 months. No impact of the malaria IST intervention was observed for prevalence of anaemia at either 12 or 24 months (adjusted risk ratio [Adj.RR]: 1.03, 95% CI 0.93–1.13, p = 0.621 and Adj.RR: 1.00, 95% CI 0.90–1.11, p = 0.953) respectively, or on prevalence of P. falciparum infection or scores of classroom attention. No effect of IST was observed on educational achievement in the older class, but an apparent negative effect was seen on spelling scores in the younger class at 9 and 24 months and on arithmetic scores at 24 months.
Conclusion
In this setting in Kenya, IST as implemented in this study is not effective in improving the health or education of school children. Possible reasons for the absence of an impact are the marked geographical heterogeneity in transmission, the rapid rate of reinfection following AL treatment, the variable reliability of RDTs, and the relative contribution of malaria to the aetiology of anaemia in this setting.
Trial registration
www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00878007
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, more than 200 million cases of malaria occur worldwide and more than 600,000 people, mostly children living in sub-Saharan Africa, die from this mosquito-borne parasitic infection. Malaria can be prevented by controlling the night-biting mosquitoes that transmit Plasmodium parasites and by sleeping under insecticide-treated nets to avoid mosquito bites. Infection with malaria parasites causes recurring flu-like symptoms and needs to be treated promptly with antimalarial drugs to prevent the development of anaemia (a reduction in red blood cell numbers) and potentially fatal damage to the brain and other organs. Treatment also reduces malaria transmission. In 1998, the World Health Organization and several other international bodies established the Roll Back Malaria Partnership to provide a coordinated global approach to fighting malaria. In 2008, the Partnership launched its Global Malaria Action Plan, which aims to control malaria to reduce the current burden, to eliminate malaria over time country by country, and, ultimately, to eradicate malaria.
Why Was This Study Done?
In recent years, many malaria-endemic countries (countries where malaria is always present) have implemented successful malaria control programs and reduced malaria transmission levels. In these countries, immunity to malaria is now acquired more slowly than in the past, the burden of clinical malaria is shifting from very young children to older children, and infection rates with malaria parasites are now highest among school-aged children. Chronic untreated Plasmodium infection, even when it does not cause symptoms, can negatively affect children's health, cognitive development (the acquisition of thinking skills), and educational achievement. However, little is known about how school-based malaria interventions affect the health of children or their educational outcomes. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers investigate the effect of intermittent screening and treatment (IST) of malaria on the health and education of school children in a rural area of southern Kenya with low-to-moderate malaria transmission. Cluster randomized trials compare the outcomes of groups (“clusters”) of people randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions. IST of malaria involves periodical screening of individuals for Plasmodium infection followed by treatment of everyone who is infected, including people without symptoms, with antimalarial drugs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled more than 5,000 children aged between 5 and 20 years from 101 government primary schools in Kenya into their 24-month study. Half the schools were randomly selected to receive the IST intervention (screening once a school term for infection with a malaria parasite with a rapid diagnostic test [RDT] and treatment of all RDT-positive children, with or without malaria symptoms, with six doses of artemether-lumefantrine), which was delivered to randomly selected children from classes 1 and 5 (which contained younger and older children, respectively). During the study, 17.5% of the children in the intervention schools were RDT-positive at screening on average. The prevalences of anaemia and parasitemia (the proportion of children with anaemia and the proportion who were RDT-positive, respectively) were similar in the intervention and control groups at the 12-month and 24-month follow-up and there was no difference between the two groups in classroom attention scores at the 9-month and 24-month follow-up. The IST intervention also had no effect on educational achievement in the older class but, unexpectedly, appeared to have a negative effect on spelling and arithmetic scores in the younger class.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this setting in Kenya, IST as implemented in this study provided no health or education benefits to school children. The finding that the educational achievement of younger children was lower in the intervention group than in the control group may be a chance finding or may indicate that apprehension about the finger prick needed to take blood for the RDT had a negative effect on the performance of younger children during educational tests. The researchers suggest that their failure to demonstrate that the school-based IST intervention they tested had any long-lasting health or education benefits may be because, in a low-to-moderate malaria transmission setting, most of the children screened did not require treatment and those who did lived in focal high transmission regions, where rapid re-infection occurred between screening rounds. Importantly, however, these findings suggest that school screening using RDT could be an efficient way to identify transmission hotspots in communities that should be targeted for malaria control interventions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001594.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Lorenz von Seidlein
Information is available fro m the World Health Organization on malaria (in several languages); the 2012 World Malaria Report provides details of the current global malaria situation
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on malaria (in English and Spanish), including a selection of personal stories about children with malaria
Information is available from the Roll Back Malaria Partnership on the global control of malaria and on the Global Malaria Action Plan (in English and French); its website includes a fact sheet about malaria in Kenya
MedlinePlus provides links to additional information on malaria (in English and Spanish)
More information about this trial is available
More information about malaria control in schools is provided in the toolkit
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001594
PMCID: PMC3904819  PMID: 24492859
16.  Global numbers of infection and disease burden of soil transmitted helminth infections in 2010 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7:37.
Background
Quantifying the burden of parasitic diseases in relation to other diseases and injuries requires reliable estimates of prevalence for each disease and an analytic framework within which to estimate attributable morbidity and mortality. Here we use data included in the Global Atlas of Helminth Infection to derive new global estimates of numbers infected with intestinal nematodes (soil-transmitted helminths, STH: Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and the hookworms) and use disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) to estimate disease burden.
Methods
Prevalence data for 6,091 locations in 118 countries were sourced and used to estimate age-stratified mean prevalence for sub-national administrative units via a combination of model-based geostatistics (for sub-Saharan Africa) and empirical approaches (for all other regions). Geographical variation in infection prevalence within these units was approximated using modelled logit-normal distributions, and numbers of individuals with infection intensities above given thresholds estimated for each species using negative binomial distributions and age-specific worm/egg burden thresholds. Finally, age-stratified prevalence estimates for each level of infection intensity were incorporated into the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 analytic framework to estimate the global burden of morbidity and mortality associated with each STH infection.
Results
Globally, an estimated 438.9 million people (95% Credible Interval (CI), 406.3 - 480.2 million) were infected with hookworm in 2010, 819.0 million (95% CI, 771.7 – 891.6 million) with A. lumbricoides and 464.6 million (95% CI, 429.6 – 508.0 million) with T. trichiura. Of the 4.98 million years lived with disability (YLDs) attributable to STH, 65% were attributable to hookworm, 22% to A. lumbricoides and the remaining 13% to T. trichiura. The vast majority of STH infections (67%) and YLDs (68%) occurred in Asia. When considering YLDs relative to total populations at risk however, the burden distribution varied more considerably within major global regions than between them.
Conclusion
Improvements in the cartography of helminth infection, combined with mathematical modelling approaches, have resulted in the most comprehensive contemporary estimates for the public health burden of STH. These numbers form an important benchmark upon which to evaluate future scale-up of major control efforts.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-37
PMCID: PMC3905661  PMID: 24447578
Soil-transmitted helminths; Ascaris lumbricoides; Trichuris trichiura; Hookworm; Disease burden; Disability-adjusted life years
17.  Clinical Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis in the Pokot Endemic Area of Uganda and Kenya 
Between 2000 and 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières diagnosed and treated 4,831 patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the Pokot region straddling the border between Uganda and Kenya. A retrospective analysis of routinely collected clinical data showed no marked seasonal or annual fluctuations. Males between 5 and 14 years of age were the most affected group. Marked splenomegaly and anemia were striking features. An rK39 antigen-based rapid diagnostic test was evaluated and found sufficiently accurate to replace the direct agglutination test and spleen aspiration as the first-line diagnostic procedure. The case-fatality rate with sodium stibogluconate as first-line treatment was low. The VL relapses were rare and often diagnosed more than 6 months post-treatment. Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis was rare but likely to be underdiagnosed. The epidemiological and clinical features of VL in the Pokot area differed markedly from VL in Sudan, the main endemic focus in Africa.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0150
PMCID: PMC3886423  PMID: 24218406
19.  Rates and intensity of re-infection with human helminths after treatment and the influence of individual, household, and environmental factors in a Brazilian community 
Parasitology  2011;138(11):10.1017/S0031182011001132.
SUMMARY
This study quantifies the rate and intensity of re-infection with human hookworm and Schistosoma mansoni infection 12 months following successful treatment, and investigates the influence of socio-economic, geographical and environmental factors. A longitudinal study of 642 individuals aged over 5 years was conducted in Minas Gerais State, Brazil from June 2004 to March 2006. Risk factors were assessed using interval censored regression for the rate and negative binomial regression for intensity. The crude rate and intensity of hookworm re-infection was 0·21 per year (95% confidence interval (CI) 0·15–0·29) and 70·9 epg (95% CI 47·2–106·6). For S. mansoni the rate was 0·06 per year (95% CI 0·03–0·10) and intensity 6·51 epg (95% CI 3·82–11·11). Rate and intensity of re-infection with hookworm were highest among males and positively associated with previous infection status, absence of a toilet and house structure. Rate and intensity of S. mansoni re-infection were associated with previous infection status as well as geographical, environmental and socio-economic factors. The implications of findings for the design of anti-helminth vaccine trials are discussed.
doi:10.1017/S0031182011001132
PMCID: PMC3827741  PMID: 21819640
Necator americanus; hookworm; Schistosoma mansoni; risk factors; re-infection; negative binomial
20.  Reliability of School Surveys in Estimating Geographic Variation in Malaria Transmission in the Western Kenyan Highlands 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77641.
Background
School surveys provide an operational approach to assess malaria transmission through parasite prevalence. There is limited evidence on the comparability of prevalence estimates obtained from school and community surveys carried out at the same locality.
Methods
Concurrent school and community cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 46 school/community clusters in the western Kenyan highlands and households of school children were geolocated. Malaria was assessed by rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and combined seroprevalence of antibodies to bloodstage Plasmodium falciparum antigens.
Results
RDT prevalence in school and community populations was 25.7% (95% CI: 24.4-26.8) and 15.5% (95% CI: 14.4-16.7), respectively. Seroprevalence in the school and community populations was 51.9% (95% CI: 50.5-53.3) and 51.5% (95% CI: 49.5-52.9), respectively. RDT prevalence in schools could differentiate between low (<7%, 95% CI: 0-19%) and high (>39%, 95% CI: 25-49%) transmission areas in the community and, after a simple adjustment, were concordant with the community estimates.
Conclusions
Estimates of malaria prevalence from school surveys were consistently higher than those from community surveys and were strongly correlated. School-based estimates can be used as a reliable indicator of malaria transmission intensity in the wider community and may provide a basis for identifying priority areas for malaria control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077641
PMCID: PMC3797060  PMID: 24143250
21.  Comparing the Performance of Cluster Random Sampling and Integrated Threshold Mapping for Targeting Trachoma Control, Using Computer Simulation 
Background
Implementation of trachoma control strategies requires reliable district-level estimates of trachomatous inflammation–follicular (TF), generally collected using the recommended gold-standard cluster randomized surveys (CRS). Integrated Threshold Mapping (ITM) has been proposed as an integrated and cost-effective means of rapidly surveying trachoma in order to classify districts according to treatment thresholds. ITM differs from CRS in a number of important ways, including the use of a school-based sampling platform for children aged 1–9 and a different age distribution of participants. This study uses computerised sampling simulations to compare the performance of these survey designs and evaluate the impact of varying key parameters.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Realistic pseudo gold standard data for 100 districts were generated that maintained the relative risk of disease between important sub-groups and incorporated empirical estimates of disease clustering at the household, village and district level. To simulate the different sampling approaches, 20 clusters were selected from each district, with individuals sampled according to the protocol for ITM and CRS. Results showed that ITM generally under-estimated the true prevalence of TF over a range of epidemiological settings and introduced more district misclassification according to treatment thresholds than did CRS. However, the extent of underestimation and resulting misclassification was found to be dependent on three main factors: (i) the district prevalence of TF; (ii) the relative risk of TF between enrolled and non-enrolled children within clusters; and (iii) the enrollment rate in schools.
Conclusions/Significance
Although in some contexts the two methodologies may be equivalent, ITM can introduce a bias-dependent shift as prevalence of TF increases, resulting in a greater risk of misclassification around treatment thresholds. In addition to strengthening the evidence base around choice of trachoma survey methodologies, this study illustrates the use of a simulated approach in addressing operational research questions for trachoma but also other NTDs.
Author Summary
Reliable district-level prevalence estimates of active trachoma are essential to targeting control interventions. While cluster randomised surveys (CRS) remain the recommended strategy for obtaining these estimates, more rapid and cost-effective methods that can be integrated with other diseases are under investigation. One proposed method is Integrated Threshold Mapping (ITM), which incorporates a school-based platform into the sampling protocol. This study uses a computerised sampling approach to evaluate whether ITM and CRS are equivalent, and explore the impact of varying key parameters on the performance of these sampling methodologies. The results from these simulations reflect a known limitation of school-based sampling: that resulting prevalence estimates are unreliable when the enrollment is low and/or the risk of disease in schools differs from communities. However, quantification of the performance of ITM at the district level highlights the variation in performance in different contexts and provides important information for national control programmes. The results from this study strengthen the evidence base around trachoma sampling methodologies and demonstrate the advantages of using a simulated approach to evaluate different sampling scenarios.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002389
PMCID: PMC3749968  PMID: 23991238
22.  The Geographical Distribution and Burden of Trachoma in Africa 
Background
There remains a lack of epidemiological data on the geographical distribution of trachoma to support global mapping and scale up of interventions for the elimination of trachoma. The Global Atlas of Trachoma (GAT) was launched in 2011 to address these needs and provide standardised, updated and accessible maps. This paper uses data included in the GAT to describe the geographical distribution and burden of trachoma in Africa.
Methods
Data assembly used structured searches of published and unpublished literature to identify cross-sectional epidemiological data on the burden of trachoma since 1980. Survey data were abstracted into a standardised database and mapped using geographical information systems (GIS) software. The characteristics of all surveys were summarized by country according to data source, time period, and survey methodology. Estimates of the current population at risk were calculated for each country and stratified by endemicity class.
Results
At the time of writing, 1342 records are included in the database representing surveys conducted between 1985 and 2012. These data were provided by direct contact with national control programmes and academic researchers (67%), peer-reviewed publications (17%) and unpublished reports or theses (16%). Prevalence data on active trachoma are available in 29 of the 33 countries in Africa classified as endemic for trachoma, and 1095 (20.6%) districts have representative data collected through population-based prevalence surveys. The highest prevalence of active trachoma and trichiasis remains in the Sahel area of West Africa and Savannah areas of East and Central Africa and an estimated 129.4 million people live in areas of Africa confirmed to be trachoma endemic.
Conclusion
The Global Atlas of Trachoma provides the most contemporary and comprehensive summary of the burden of trachoma within Africa. The GAT highlights where future mapping is required and provides an important planning tool for scale-up and surveillance of trachoma control.
Author Summary
In order to target resources and drugs to reach trachoma elimination targets by the year 2020, data on the burden of disease are required. Using prevalence data in African countries derived from the Global Atlas of Trachoma (GAT), the distribution of trachoma continues to be focused in East and West Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and a few endemic countries in Central Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, 129.4 million people are estimated to live in areas that are confirmed to be trachoma endemic and 98 million are known to require access to the SAFE strategy. The maps and information presented in this work highlight the GAT as important open-access planning and advocacy tool for efforts to finalize trachoma mapping and assist national programmes in planning interventions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002359
PMCID: PMC3738464  PMID: 23951378
23.  Spatial Distribution of Podoconiosis in Relation to Environmental Factors in Ethiopia: A Historical Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68330.
Background
An up-to-date and reliable map of podoconiosis is needed to design geographically targeted and cost-effective intervention in Ethiopia. Identifying the ecological correlates of the distribution of podoconiosis is the first step for distribution and risk maps. The objective of this study was to investigate the spatial distribution and ecological correlates of podoconiosis using historical and contemporary survey data.
Methods
Data on the observed prevalence of podoconiosis were abstracted from published and unpublished literature into a standardized database, according to strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. In total, 10 studies conducted between 1969 and 2012 were included, and data were available for 401,674 individuals older than 15 years of age from 229 locations. A range of high resolution environmental factors were investigated to determine their association with podoconiosis prevalence, using logistic regression.
Results
The prevalence of podoconiosis in Ethiopia was estimated at 3.4% (95% CI 3.3%–3.4%) with marked regional variation. We identified significant associations between mean annual Land Surface Temperature (LST), mean annual precipitation, topography of the land and fine soil texture and high prevalence of podoconiosis. The derived maps indicate both widespread occurrence of podoconiosis and a marked variability in prevalence of podoconiosis, with prevalence typically highest at altitudes >1500 m above sea level (masl), with >1500 mm annual rainfall and mean annual LST of 19–21°C. No (or very little) podoconiosis occurred at altitudes <1225 masl, with annual rainfall <900 mm, and mean annual LST of >24°C.
Conclusion
Podoconiosis remains a public health problem in Ethiopia over considerable areas of the country, but exhibits marked geographical variation associated in part with key environmental factors. This is work in progress and the results presented here will be refined in future work.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068330
PMCID: PMC3706425  PMID: 23874587
24.  Monitoring and evaluating the impact of national school-based deworming in Kenya: study design and baseline results 
Parasites & Vectors  2013;6:198.
Background
An increasing number of countries in Africa and elsewhere are developing national plans for the control of neglected tropical diseases. A key component of such plans is school-based deworming (SBD) for the control of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) and schistosomiasis. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of national programmes is essential to ensure they are achieving their stated aims and to evaluate when to reduce the frequency of treatment or when to halt it altogether. The article describes the M&E design of the Kenya national SBD programme and presents results from the baseline survey conducted in early 2012.
Methods
The M&E design involves a stratified series of pre- and post-intervention, repeat cross-sectional surveys in a representative sample of 200 schools (over 20,000 children) across Kenya. Schools were sampled based on previous knowledge of STH endemicity and were proportional to population size. Stool (and where relevant urine) samples were obtained for microscopic examination and in a subset of schools; finger-prick blood samples were collected to estimate haemoglobin concentration. Descriptive and spatial analyses were conducted. The evaluation measured both prevalence and intensity of infection.
Results
Overall, 32.4% of children were infected with at least one STH species, with Ascaris lumbricoides as the most common species detected. The overall prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni was 2.1%, while in the Coast Province the prevalence of S. haematobium was 14.8%. There was marked geographical variation in the prevalence of species infection at school, district and province levels. The prevalence of hookworm infection was highest in Western Province (25.1%), while A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura prevalence was highest in the Rift Valley (27.1% and 11.9%). The lowest prevalence was observed in the Rift Valley for hookworm (3.5%), in the Coast for A. lumbricoides (1.0%), and in Nyanza for T. trichiura (3.6%). The prevalence of S. mansoni was most common in Western Province (4.1%).
Conclusions
The current findings are consistent with the known spatial ecology of STH and schistosome infections and provide an important empirical basis on which to evaluate the impact of regular mass treatment through the school system in Kenya.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-198
PMCID: PMC3723516  PMID: 23829767
Soil-transmitted helminths; Schistosomiasis; School-based deworming; Monitoring and evaluation; Kenya
25.  Asymptomatic Plasmodium Infection and Cognition among Primary Schoolchildren in a High Malaria Transmission Setting in Uganda 
Asymptomatic parasitemia is common among schoolchildren living in areas of high malaria transmission, yet little is known about its effect on cognitive function in these settings. To investigate associations between asymptomatic parasitemia, anemia, and cognition among primary schoolchildren living in a high malaria transmission setting, we studied 740 children enrolled in a clinical trial in Tororo, Uganda. Parasitemia, measured by thick blood smears, was present in 30% of the children. Infected children had lower test scores for abstract reasoning (adjusted mean difference [AMD] −0.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.01 to −0.21) and sustained attention (AMD −1.6 95% CI −2.40 to −0.81) compared with uninfected children. There was also evidence for a dose–response relationship between parasite density and scores for sustained attention. No associations were observed between anemia and either test of cognition. Schoolchildren in high transmission settings may experience cognitive benefits, from interventions aimed at reducing the prevalence of asymptomatic parasitemia.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.12-0633
PMCID: PMC3752809  PMID: 23589533

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