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Factors Affecting the Prevalence of Human Schistosomiasis in Aseer Region, Saudi Arabia

Author(s): Ali A. Shati

Journal: Journal of Biological Sciences
ISSN 1727-3048

Volume: 9;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 815;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Schistosomiasis | biotic and abiotic factors | prevalence | generalised linear models | Aseer region

As Aseer region showed the highest rate of human schistosomiasis in Saudi Arabia in the past few years, it is necessary to investigate the temporal and spatial variations in patterns of infection and the factors may have led to such heterogeneity in this region. Therefore, Generalised Linear Models (GLMs) were used to study the temporal and spatial variations in the prevalence of human schistosomiasis in two areas in Aseer region: Abha and Tihamah over eight years period (2000-2007). In addition, the contribution of various biotic and abiotic factors to the prevalence of the infection was estimated. Data of 1004953 people (682982 from Abha and 321971 from Tihamah) examined for infection were used in the analysis. In general, there was a decline in the prevalence of schistosomiasis over the study period and the prevalence of infection in Tihamah was significantly less than it was in Abha. Prevalence of schistosomiasis in Abha but not in Tihamah was significantly affected by seasons as people in Abha had the highest infection rate in summer. Schistosomiasis infection rate was affected by host sex as males had higher infection rate than females. Age group of 15-35 showed the highest infection rate. Infection rate was also positively correlated with snail infection rate. Prevalence of schistosomiasis in non-Saudi people was significantly higher than it was in Saudi people. This study showed that many abiotic and biotic factors have contributed to human schistosomiasis in Aseer region. There also was a spatial variation in the prevalence of schistosomiasis in this region as it was higher Abha than it was in Tihamah. Therefore, more attention should be paid to Abha area in the future schistosome control programmes beside the intensive control programmes being applied to Tihamah.
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