Lot quality assurance sampling for screening communities hyperendemic for Schistosoma mansoni

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Summary

Lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) was evaluated for rapid low cost identification of communities where Schistosoma mansoni infection was hyperendemic in southern Madagascar. In the study area, S. mansoni infection shows very focused and heterogeneous distribution requiring multifariousness of local surveys. One sampling plan was tested in the field with schoolchildren and several others were simulated in the laboratory. Randomization and stool specimen collection were performed by voluntary teachers under direct supervision of the study staff and no significant problem occurred. As expected from Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves, all sampling plans allowed correct identification of hyperendemic communities and of most of the hypoendemic ones. Frequent misclassifications occurred for communities with intermediate prevalence and the cheapest plans had very low specificity. The study confirmed that LQAS would be a valuable tool for large scale screening in a country with scarce financial and staff resources. Involving teachers, appeared to be quite feasible and should not lower the reliability of surveys. We recommend that the national schistosomiasis control programme systematically uses LQAS for identification of communities, provided that sample sizes are adapted to the specific epidemiological patterns of S. mansoni infection in the main regions.

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