Manara - Qatar Research Repository
10.4324_9781003143840-45_chapterpdf.pdf (151.86 kB)

Control programmes for Africa's parasites

Download (151.86 kB)
submitted on 2023-09-11, 12:06 and posted on 2023-09-13, 10:56 authored by Tim Allen, Melissa Parker

A vast number of people in Africa are infected with parasitic worms, causing a variety of illnesses. These include (1) Schistosomiasis (otherwise known as bilharzia), usually caused by one of two schistosome species: Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium. Transmission occurs in rivers and lakes where particular freshwater snails, which act as vectors, are common. Although the signs and symptoms of infection with S. haematobium and S. man-soni differ, they can be infected by these species and remain asymptomatic for long periods. However, repeated reinfection can lead to heavy worm burdens, which may seriously impact health and well-being. (2) Lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis, is transmitted by mosquitos. It is not a fatal disease, but the worms affect the lymph glands, causing severe swelling in parts of the body, especially the lower limbs. In men, the infection can result in a swollen scrotum. The swellings are often disfiguring, can be incapacitating, and may be linked to stigmatisation. (3) Onchocerciasis, commonly referred to as river blindness, is a worm infection spread by blackflies found near fast-moving rivers and streams. It causes itching, bumps under the shin and, in advanced cases, irreversible blindness. (4) Soil-transmitted helminths (a range of intestinal worms) include hookworm, roundworm, Ascaris and whipworm. They are transmitted by eggs, present in human feces, contaminating the soil in inadequate sanitation areas. Perceived symptoms may be mild, but there can be efects on energy levels and possible links with anaemia, malnutrition and stunted growth.

Other Information

Published in: Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa
See article on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This chapter is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Public Policy - HBKU

Geographic coverage


Usage metrics

    Manara - Qatar Research Repository


    Ref. manager