Research Article

The impact of schistosomiasis on human nutrition

L. Stephensona1

a1 214 Savage Hall, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University Ithaca, New York, 14853-6301, USA


This article reviews studies that examine the negative effects of urinary and intestinal schistosomiasis on the following nutritional parameters in humans: urinary and faecal blood and iron loss, anaemia and haemoglobin levels, proteinuria, child growth and adult protein-energy status, physical fitness, physical activity, appetite and symptomatology. The conclusions reached are (1) that community-level treatment and control of schistosomiasis in areas where the infection, protein-energy malnutrition, and anaemia are common are to be encouraged and are likely to improve child growth, appetite, physical fitness and activity levels and to decrease anaemia and symptoms of the infection, and (2) that further studies are needed to determine how much and by what means decreases in and treatment of schistosomal infection may improve nutritional status, cognitive and school performance and attendance, and work capacity and productivity in communities with different amounts of parasitism and malnutrition.