Schistosomiasis in the Philippines: Innovative Control Approach is Needed if Elimination is the Goal
In 1996, schistosomiasis due to Schistosoma japonicum was declared eradicated in Japan. In the People’s Republic of China, S. japonicum transmission has been interrupted in the major endemic areas in the coastal plains but the disease persists in the lake and marshland regions south of the Yangtze River. The disease remains a public health problem in endemic areas in the Philippines and in isolated areas in Indonesia. Comprehensive multidisciplinary campaigns had led to eradication of schistosomiasis in Japan and have been successful in the interruption of disease transmission in the major endemic regions of the People’s Republic of China. Unfortunately, the integrated measures cannot be duplicated in schistosomiasis endemic areas in the Philippines because of limited resources. The problem is also more complicated due to the topography in the Philippines and transmission is not seasonal as in China. An innovative approach is needed in the Philippines if schistosomiasis elimination is the goal.