Exposure to Schistosoma mansoni infection in a rural area in Brazil. II: Household risk factors


Dr Jeffrey Bethony Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou, Av. Augusto de Lima 1715, CEP 30190-002 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. Email: jeff@cpqrr.fiocruz.br


A number of studies have pointed out the potential importance of the household in the transmission of schistosomiasis. The clustering of domestic activities associated with water collection, storage, and usage can result in the sharing of transmission sites and infective water contact behaviours. In this study, we employed a variance component method to estimate effects due to individual risk factors and shared residence on the variance in faecal egg counts during Schistosoma mansoni infection. A suite of covariates, which included demographic, socioeconomic, water supply, and water contact behaviour terms, contributed 15% to the variance in faecal egg counts. Shared residence alone accounted for 28% of the variance in faecal egg excretion. When both the suite of covariates and shared residence were considered in the same model, shared residence still contributed 22% to the variance in infection intensity. These results point to the importance of shared residence as a means of capturing the complex interrelationship between shared demographic, socioeconomic, physical environmental, and behavioural factors that influence transmission of schistosomiasis at the household level.