Efficacy of artesunate in the treatment of urinary schistosomiasis in an endemic area in Anambra state, Nigeria

Abstract

Ezeagwuna, DA, Ekejindu, IM, Onyido, AE, Nnamah, NK, Oli, AN, Mgbemena, IC,Ogolo, BC, Orji, N.

The efficacy of artesunate in the treatment of urinary schistosomiasis was assessed among school children aged 5-16 years. Urine samples from 367 primary school children were examined for ova of Schistosoma haematobium. Using standard parasitological procedures (filtration method), S. haematobium ova was found in the urine samples of 29(7.9%) pupils. High infection rates of 16.0% and 13.2% were recorded in two primary schools with an overall egg output of 10.55 eggs/10mls urine (geometric mean). The prevalence was higher in the males (10.10%) than in the females (5.0%) and among the 12-16 years age group (15.1; p<0.05). Infected pupils who reported for treatment were given oral dose of artesunate (4mg/kg/day) for 3 days. When the treated children were examined 2 weeks post treatment, the intensity reduced to 1.59eggs/10ml urine and the drug had an 85.12% egg reduction and efficacy rates. The treatment regimens were well tolerated. This study confirmed that the treatment of urinary schistosomiasis with artesunate is safe and effective but its widespread use for the treatment of schistosomiasis has to be considered carefully so that it does not compromise the efficacy of the drug as an anti-malaria and thereby increasing the risk of resistance developing in local Plasmodium.

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