Schistosoma (S.) haematobium is a neglected tropical disease which may affect any part of the genital tract in women. Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) may cause abnormal vaginal discharge, contact bleeding, genital tumours, ectopic pregnancies and increased susceptibility to HIV. Symptoms may mimic those typical of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and women with genital schistosomiasis may be incorrectly diagnosed. An expert consensus meeting suggested that the following findings by visual inspection should serve as proxy indicators for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis of the lower genital tract in women from S. haematobium endemic areas: sandy patches appearing as (1) single or clustered grains or (2) sandy patches appearing as homogenous, yellow areas, or (3) rubbery papules. In this atlas we aim to provide an overview of the genital mucosal manifestations of schistosomiasis in women.
Photocolposcopic images were captured from women, between 1994 and 2012 in four different study sites endemic for S. haematobium in Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Madagascar. Images and specimens were sampled from sexually active women between 15 and 49 years of age. Colposcopic images of other diseases are included for differential diagnostic purposes.
This is the first atlas to present the clinical manifestations of schistosomiasis in the lower female genital tract. It will be freely available for online use, downloadable as a presentation and for print. It could be used for training purposes, further research, and in clinical practice.
Female genital schistosomiasis commonly remains undiagnosed due to its unacknowledged clinical manifestations. Millions of women in endemic areas are infected, and many suffer from abnormal vaginal discharge, contact bleeding, genital tumours, ectopic pregnancies, and an increased susceptibility to HIV. Sandy patches and rubbery papules identified by visual inspection may serve as indicators for the diagnosis of genital schistosomiasis. However, text books do not contain this information and it is not taught in medical school or to nurses serving these patients in endemic areas. The aim of this Atlas is to present the photocolposcopic manifestations of schistosomiasis in the lower female genital tract. Photocolposcopic images were captured from women between 15 and 49 years of age, between 1994 and 2012 in four different sites endemic for S. haematobium in Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Madagascar. This is the first atlas to present the clinical manifestations of schistosomiasis. Two types of sandy patches, abnormal blood vessels and rubbery papules are shown, as well as differential diagnoses. PloS NTDs makes it possible for all to access this information.
Citation: Norseth HM, Ndhlovu PD, Kleppa E, Randrianasolo BS, Jourdan PM, Roald B, et al. (2014) The Colposcopic Atlas of Schistosomiasis in the Lower Female Genital Tract Based on Studies in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and South Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8(11): e3229. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003229
Editor: Jennifer A. Downs, Weill Cornell Medical College, United States of America
Received: November 28, 2013; Accepted: August 29, 2014; Published: November 20, 2014
Copyright: © 2014 Norseth et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The research leading to these results has received funding from the University of Copenhagen with the support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Grant no. OPPGH5344), South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority Network project no. 2011073 and 2012032 and European Research Council