At each lake, a community cross-sectional survey was undertaken using a combination of stool and urine parasitological sampling, and interview with pro-forma questionnaires. A total of 338 children and adults participated. Material from snail and parasite species were characterised by DNA methods.
Egg-patent prevalence of urogenital schistosomiasis was 8.7% at Barombi Mbo (all light-intensity infections) and 40.1% at Barombi Kotto (21.2% heavy-intensity infections). Intestinal schistosomiasis was absent. At Barombi Kotto, significantly more women reported signs and symptoms associated with female genital schistosomiasis. While there had been extensive recent improvement in WASH-related infrastructure at Barombi Mbo, water contact risk scores were higher among schistosomiasis-infected participants (P < 0.001) and at Barombi Kotto in general (P < 0.001). Across both lakes, mean prevalence of STH was very low (6.3%) evidencing an impressive decrease of 79.0% over the last decade; neither Strongyloides stercoralis nor Ascaris lumbricoides were found. A total of 29 freshwater sampling sites were inspected for snails, 13 in Barombi Mbo and 16 in Barombi Kotto; water chemistry differed significantly (P < 0.0001) between lakes for both mean pH (7.9 v. 9.6) and mean conductivity (64.3 μS v. 202.1 μS) respectively. Only two Bulinus camerunensis found on the central island of Barombi Kotto were observed to shed schistosome cercariae, but schistosome DNA was later detected in Bulinus sampled from both lakes as well as in Indoplanorbis exustus, an invasive species from Asia.
STH is currently at very low levels while urogenital schistosomiasis is of greatest concern at Barombi Kotto. This assessment highlights a unique opportunity for further study of the epidemiological dynamics at these crater lakes, to evaluate future intensified interventions both in terms of gaining and sustaining control at Barombi Kotto or in moving towards local interruption of transmission of both diseases at Barombi Mbo.