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BACKGROUND:Better knowledge of the efficacy and safety of single-dose 40 mg/kg oral praziquantel in preschool-age children is required, should preventive chemotherapy programs for schistosomiasis be expanded to include this age group. METHODOLOGY:We analyzed individual participant-level data from 16 studies (13 single-arm or cohort studies and three randomized trials), amounting to 683 preschool-age children (aged <6 years) and 2,010 school-age children (aged 6-14 years). Children had a documented Schistosoma mansoni or S. haematobium infection, were treated with single 40 mg/kg oral praziquantel, and assessed between 21 and 60 days post-treatment. Efficacy was expressed as arithmetic mean and individual egg reduction rate (ERR) and meta-analyzed using general linear models and mixed models. Safety was summarized using reported adverse events (AEs). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Preschool-age children had significantly lower baseline Schistosoma egg counts and more losses to follow-up compared to school-age children. No difference in efficacy was found between preschool- and school-age children using a general linear model of individual-participant ERR with baseline log-transformed egg count as covariate and study, age, and sex as fixed variables, and a mixed model with a random effect on the study. Safety was reported in only four studies (n = 1,128 individuals); few AEs were reported in preschool-age children 4 and 24 hours post-treatment as well as at follow-up. Three severe but not serious AEs were recorded in school-age children during follow-up. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:There is no indication that single-dose 40 mg/kg oral praziquantel would be less efficacious and less safe in preschool-age children compared to school-age children, with the caveat that only few randomized comparisons exist between the two age groups. Preventive chemotherapy might therefore be extended to preschool-age children, with proper monitoring of its efficacy and safety.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS neglected tropical diseases

Publication Date





Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Feces, Animals, Humans, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosomiasis haematobia, Schistosomiasis mansoni, Praziquantel, Anthelmintics, Parasite Egg Count, Treatment Outcome, Chemoprevention, Administration, Oral, Linear Models, Adolescent, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Male, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic