Date: Sun 31 Mar 2019
Source: Eleven [edited]
The transmission of schistosomiasis, also known as snail fever and bilharzias, has been reported in Inle of Shan State and Shwegyin Township in Bago Region, Rakhine State, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports. From October 2016 to June 2018, 302 people were infected with schistosomiasis.
Dr. Than Tun Aung, Deputy Director-General of the Public Health Department said: "The ministry has stepped up its efforts to control the spreads of schistosomiasis as the cases are reported in some regions and states in addition to Rakhine State. The ministry will draft a plan to carry out the prevention and control of schistosomiasis.
The ministry has asked for technical and other aid from the World Health Organization (WHO). We are also cooperating with experts from Imperial Collage London." The use of less fly-proof latrines may compound the problem. The department will coordinate with the Rakhine State Chief Minister, the Social Affairs Minister and related ministries to effectively prevent and control the spreads. According to the laboratory tests from [1 Oct to 1 Nov 2018], 520 out of 980 suspected patients were found to have been infected with schistosomiasis.
The Union Minister has directed officials to inform the Rakhine State government about the prevention and control of schistosomiasis and distribute pamphlets to raise awareness of this among departmental officials. Experts from the WHO (headquarters), WHO South East-Asia Region and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are conducting surveys, in cooperation with relevant departments.
The disease is spread by contact with fresh water contaminated with the parasites. These parasites are released from infected freshwater snails.
[A recent comprehensive review of schistosomiasis in Southeast Asia (Gordon CA et al. Asian Schistosomiasis: Current Status and Prospects for Control Leading to Elimination. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 26;4(1). pii: E40) reviews the epidemiology of schistosomiasis in the region. A total of 3 species are present: _S. japonicum_, _S. mekongi_ and _S. malayensis_. All are zoonotic infections with 46 mammalian definitive hosts identified thus far for _S. japonicum_, _S. mekongi_ have been found in dogs, and _S. malayensis_ in rodents.
The same study (Gordon CA et al.) includes a map of Myanmar indicating the endemic area, the Rakhine State. There is no information on which species are found in Myanmar, key information to be able to develop an informed control strategy including both infections in human and the animal hosts. - ProMED Mod.EP]
[HealthMap/ProMED map available at: