WHO Pocket Atlas for Healthcare Professionals to Diagnose Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS)

15 April 2015

Human schistosomiasis remains an important public health problem in many tropical settings. At least 261 million people require treatment for schistosomiasis and up to 659 million people are at risk.

Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is a manifestation mainly of Schistosoma haematobium infection. Given the nature of the signs and symptoms of FGS, women tend to approach health services with complaints of infertility or symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. Clinicians are generally unaware of FGS because it is not described in the medical textbooks or nursing curricula in any of the countries where schistosomiasis is endemic. Laboratory diagnostics are inadequate. Consequently, for women of reproductive age living in areas endemic for S. haematobium, FGS remains highly prevalent and under-diagnosed due a low index of suspicion among health-care professionals. A high index of suspicion will allow a diagnosis of FGS pre-operatively and avoid unnecessary radical surgery and misdiagnosis of sexually transmitted infections.

This Female Genital Schistosomiasis Pocket Atlas has been developed as a visual aid to raise awareness of the infection and to facilitate clinical diagnosis by clinical health-care professionals working in low-resource settings, especially in rural areas where schistosomiasis is endemic.

WHO Implementation