• Reconciling egg- and antigen-based estimates of Schistosoma mansoni clearance and reinfection: a modelling study.

      Clark, Jessica; orcid: 0000-0003-1692-899X; Arinaitwe, Moses; Nankasi, Andrina; Faust, Christina L; Moses, Adriko; Ajambo, Diana; Besigye, Fred; Atuhaire, Alon; Wamboko, Aidah; Carruthers, Lauren V; et al. (2021-08-06)
      240-million people have schistosomiasis despite decades of interventions. Infections cannot be directly observed, and egg-based Kato-Katz thick smears lack sensitivity, impacting treatment efficacy and reinfection rate estimates. The Point-of-Care Circulating Cathodic Antigen test (POC-CCA) is advocated as an improvement upon the Kato-Katz, however improved estimates are limited by ambiguities in the interpretation of Trace results. We collected repeated Kato-Katz counts from 210 school-aged children and scored POC-CCAs according to manufacturer's guidelines (POC-CCA+) and the externally developed G-Score. We used Hidden Markov Models parameterised with Kato-Katz; Kato-Katz and POC-CCA+; and Kato-Katz and G-Scores, inferring latent clearance and reinfection probabilities at four timepoints over six-months through a more formal statistical reconciliation of these diagnostics than previously conducted. Our approach required minimal but robust assumptions regarding Trace interpretations. Antigen-based models estimated higher infection prevalence across all timepoints compared with the Kato-Katz model, corresponding to lower clearance and higher reinfection estimates. Specifically, pre-treatment prevalence estimates were 85% (Kato-Katz; 95% CI: 79-92%), 99% (POC-CCA+; 97-100%) and 98% (G-Score; 95-100%). Post-treatment, 93% (Kato-Katz; 88-96%), 72% (POC-CCA+; 64-79%) and 65% (G-Score; 57-73%) of those infected were estimated to clear infection. Of those who cleared infection, 35% (Kato-Katz; 27-42%), 51% (POC-CCA+; 41-62%) and 44% (G-Score; 33-55%) were estimated to have been reinfected by nine-weeks. Treatment impact was shorter-lived than only Kato-Katz-based estimates suggested, with lower clearance and rapid reinfection. Three-weeks-post-treatment captured longer-term clearance dynamics. Nine-weeks-post-treatment captured reinfection, but alone could not discern between failed clearance and rapid reinfection. Therefore, frequent sampling is required to understand these important epidemiological dynamics. [Abstract copyright: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.]