St. Lucia health ministry to conduct medical survey for schistosomiasis


The Ministry of Health has announced plans to conduct a medical survey to test for schistosomiasis, in order to determine whether the disease has been eliminated across the island.

Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is a disease caused by parasitic worms that causes illness in humans including fever, chills, muscle aches, enlargement of the liver and spleen, and anemia.

The medical survey will sample 2000 school-aged children between the ages of eight and 11.

The survey will determine the level of prevalence, or the percentage of school aged children who may have bilharzia or schistosomiasis.

Health officials predict that it will be a very low percentage.

“Right now we’re seeing very few cases of schistosomiasis, but in order to determine whether we have actually eliminated the disease we need to carry out a survey,” Dr Merlene Fredericks, Chief Medical Officer with the Ministry of Health, said.

“We have been meeting with the schools and a sample of children was selected. We would have liked to involve the entire country and every child in every school, but because of limited resources we were not be able to involve everyone.”

Two thousand children out of a total of 9000, were selected to participate in the survey. The participants were selected by a random method that cannot be influenced by those working the survey.



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