Break Out: Urogenital Schistosomiasis and Schistosoma haematobium Infection in the Post-Genomic Era

The newly completed whole genome sequence of Schistosoma haematobium, the leading cause of human schistosomiasis and an emerging co-factor in Africa’s AIDS and cancer epidemics, together with rapidly advancing genetic manipulation technologies, is providing new insights that could lead to the development of a new generation of tools for eliminating this ancient scourge.

Today, more than 90% of the roughly 200 million cases of schistosomiasis occur in Africa [1], [2], of which approximately two-thirds are caused by Schistosoma haematobium [3], the etiologic agent of urogenital schistosomiasis. More recently, Charles King and his colleagues have suggested that the number of cases of S. haematobium may be much greater than previously believed, even possibly double or triple that of earlier prevalence estimates.

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