Schistosomiasis is a debilitating disease caused by trematode worms of the genus Schistosoma. Three members Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma haematobium, and Schistosoma japonicum are responsible for the great majority of human infections. Schistosomiasis is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, several countries of the Middle East, South America, and South-East Asia. Vaccination against the infection would be the most reliable way to combat the infection and decrease or interrupt its transmission, but a commercial vaccine is still unavailable. Praziquantel (PZQ) is the only drug considered for schistosomiasis treatment as it is effective against the major human schistosomes, commercially available, cost-affordable, and elicits limited side-effects. Several reports documented the highly significant PZQ efficacy in treatment of light infections in areas of low S. mansoni and S. haematobium endemicity and PZQ use. Chemotherapy with PZQ alone of patients residing in regions of high schistosome endemicity and afflicted with light, moderate, or heavy infection is not efficacious. Accordingly, we propose implementation of cost-affordable arachidonic acid (ARA), a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid and efficacious in vitro and in vivo schistosomicide, for oral therapy of children with Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium light infection, as adjunct to PZQ for cure of children with moderate and heavy infections, and for counteracting schistosome resistance to PZQ that arises in endemic areas exposed to repeated and intense PZQ mass treatment campaigns.
Part of the book: An Overview of Tropical Diseases