Female genital schistosomiasis–a differential diagnosis to sexually transmitted disease: genital itch and vaginal discharge as indicators of genital Schistosoma haematobium morbidity in a cross-sectional study in endemic rural Zimbabwe

Kjetland EF, Kurewa EN, Ndhlovu PD, Midzi N, Gwanzura L, Mason PR, Gomo E, Sandvik L, Mduluza T, Friis H, Gundersen SG

Journal title: Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH

Trop. Med. Int. Health 2008 Dec;13(12):1509-17

PMID: 19055625

Article on PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19055625


OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between schistosomiasis and reproductive tract symptoms.

METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a Schistosoma haematobium-endemic area of rural Zimbabwe. A total of 483 permanently resident adult women of Mupfure Ward aged 20-49 were interviewed and examined clinically, each providing three consecutive urine samples. Logistic regression analysis was used to control for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

RESULTS: Women with genital sandy patches had significantly more genital itch (P = 0.009) and perceived their discharge as abnormal (P = 0.003). Eighty percent of the women who had genital itch, yellow discharge, and childhood or current waterbody contact had sandy patches. Fifty-two percent of the women with genital sandy patches did not have detectable S. haematobium ova in urine. Genital schistosomiasis was associated with stress incontinence and pollakisuria, but not with menstrual irregularities, current or previous ulcers, or tumours.

CONCLUSION: Genital schistosomiasis may be a differential diagnosis to the STDs in women who have been exposed to fresh water in endemic areas. Because of the chronic nature of the disease in adults, we suggest to pay special attention to the prevention of morbidity.