Epidemiology and control of schistosomiasis: report of a WHO Expert Committee, Geneva, 6-10 November, 1978.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Epidemiology and Control of Schistosomiasis met in Switzerland in November 1978 and dealt with epidemiology (the parasite, the snail intermediate host, human infection), control (review of progress in selected national control programs, control tools and techniques, factors influencing the choice of control methods in schistosomiasis, and evaluation of control), training courses in parasitology and in epidemiology, the feasibility of control, the strategy of control, and control policies in the future. Although reliable and effective schistosomiasis control measures have become available, the most appropriate combinations of these measures still need to be worked out. Both disease control in the human population and transmission control of the biological cycle are essential to the concept of total control of schistosomiasis. Drug treatment will have an increasingly significant role in disease and transmission control, but there is also a need for operational research in order to define the best ways of using the available drugs. The cost of control at this time will make it difficult for the poorer endemic countries to have effective programs within the constraints of their health budgets, meaning that less expensive methods of control are necessary. Programs that have depended exclusively on chemotherapy experienced problems after some years, and it is important to encourage the use of other methods in programs using chemotherapy on a large scale.