Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Re-emerging schistosomiasis in hilly and mountainous areas of Sichuan, China

Song Liang, Changhong Yang, Bo Zhong, & Dongchuan Qiu

ABSTRACT

Despite great strides in schistosomiasis control over the past several decades in Sichuan Province, China the disease has re-emerged in areas where it was previously controlled. We reviewed historical records and found that schistosomiasis had re-emerged in eight counties by the end of 2004 — seven of 21 counties with transmission control and one of 25 with transmission interruption as reported in 2001 were confirmed to have local disease transmission. The average “return time” (from control to re-emergence) was about eight years. The onset of re-emergence was commonly signalled by the occurrence of acute infections. Our survey results suggest that environmental and sociopolitical factors play an important role in re-emergence. The main challenge would be to consolidate and maintain effective control in the longer term until “real” eradication is achieved. This would be possible only by the formulation of a sustainable surveillance and control system.