Rapid risk assessment: Local transmission of Schistosoma haematobium in Corsica, France. First update, July 2015

Risk assessment
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Rapid risk assessment: Local transmission of Schistosoma haematobium in Corsica, France. First update – 23 July 2015. Stockholm: ECDC; 2015.

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​The autochthonous transmission of Schistosoma haematobium in Corsica in 2013 was a local public health event that highlighted a potential risk for other parts of the EU. Recent studies and the results of the local screening operation have confirmed local transmission of S. haematobium in the Cavu River during the summer of 2013. Therefore, there is a need to consider enhancing public and professional awareness and epidemiological surveillance for schistosomiasis.

Executive summary

ECDC updates its rapid risk assessment on local transmission of Schistosoma haematobium in Corsica, France  in order to re-evaluate the public health significance for the EU of the public health event.

On 23 April 2014, the parasitology unit of the university hospital of Toulouse notified the Institut de Veille Sanitaire, France about a cluster of three cases of Schistosoma haematobium infection affecting two siblings and their father. The French family had bathed in fresh water from the Cavu River near Porto Vecchio, Corsica in August 2013. Several other cases were later detected.

As of 25 March 2015, 110 individuals presented with at least one positive serological test, 26 of which were confirmed by the identification of eggs in the urine. Among the individuals for which the date of exposure is available, 62% reported bathing in the Cavu River during the first two weeks of August 2013.

As of 14 April 2015, no cases had been identified with exposure in 2014. Given the existence of asymptomatic infections and the usual long delay between infection and symptoms, it is possible that additional cases in people previously exposed to the infested water of the Cavu River will occur.

This local public health event highlights a potential risk for other parts of the EU. Therefore, there is a need to consider enhancing public and professional awareness and epidemiological surveillance for schistosomiasis. The updated risk assessment provides options for prevention and control.