Praziquantel mass drug administration (MDA) is recommended in schistosomiasis-endemic areas. Animal models demonstrate Schistosoma parasite resistance to praziquantel after repeated exposure.
We conducted a parasitological survey in 26 fishing communities in Uganda after 4 years of quarterly (13 communities) or annual (13 communities) praziquantel MDA, with Schistosoma infection detected by single-stool-sample Kato-Katz. A test of cure was done in participants who were positive on both urine circulating cathodic antigen test and 3-sample Kato-Katz. We calculated cure rates (CRs) and egg reduction rates (ERRs) based on 3-sample Kato-Katz and infection intensity using worm-specific circulating anodic antigen (CAA) in blood, comparing these between quarterly and annually treated participants.
Single-sample Kato-Katz Schistosoma mansoni prevalence was 22% in 1,056 quarterly treated participants and 34% in 1,030 annually treated participants (risk ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40 to 0.94). Among 110 test-of-cure participants, CRs were 65% and 51% in annually and quarterly treated villages, respectively (odds ratio, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.27 to 1.58); ERRs were 94% and 81% (difference, -13%; 95% CI, -48% to 2%). There was no impact of quarterly vs annual praziquantel on S. mansoni by CAA.
In this schistosomiasis hot spot, there was little evidence of decreased praziquantel efficacy. However, in the absence of alternative therapies, there remains a need for continued vigilance of praziquantel efficacy in the MDA era.