Clinical findings in female genital schistosomiasis in Madagascar

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To assess the morbidity of S. haematobium infection in women of reproductive age (15-49 years) in the western part of Madagascar, the village of Betalatala with a prevalence of urinary schistosomiasis in women of 75.6% (95% confidence limit 69.3 to 81.9%) was compared with a neighbouring village with similar socio-economic characteristics and a prevalence of 5.0% (95% confidence limit 0 to 11.75%). The women were questioned in Malagasy about obstetrical history and urogynecological symptoms. They were examined gynaecologically, parasitologically and by ultrasonography. Important STDs were excluded by appropiate diagnostics. In Betalatala significantly more women reported a history of spontaneous abortion (P < 0.01), complaints of irregular menstruation (P < 0.001), pelvic pain (<0.05), vaginal discharge (P < 0.0001), dysuria (P < 0.05) and haematuria (P < 0.01) than in the control village. Biopsies were obtained from the cervix of 36 women with macroscopical lesions, and in 12 cases S. haematobium eggs were found by histological sectioning (33.3%). In the control village no eggs were detected in the histological sections of biopsies taken from 14 women. (P < 0.05). Infections with Candida albicans, Trichomonas vaginalis, Gardnerella vaginalis and Treponema pallidum were found in similar frequencies in both villages. In 9.8% of the women in Betalatala abnormalities of the upper reproductive tract were revealed by ultrasonography versus none in the women from the control village (P < 0.05). Echographic abnormalities of the urinary tract were present in 24% and 3% of the women in the study village and in the control village, respectively (P < 0.0001). These findings were accompanied by an elevated frequency of haematuria (55% versus 20%) and proteinuria (70.4% versus 25%) in the study population (P < 0.0001). Our study indicates that S. haematobium infection in women may not only cause symptoms in the urinary tract, but also frequently in the lower and upper reproductive tract.

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