Although identification of water contact patterns is one of the most important factors for the prevention of Schistosoma japonicum infection, it is still insufficient for clarifying specific high-risk behaviors and their implications. Parasitological studies and behavioral observations were carried out in a rural village, the Dongting Lake region, China. A time-allocation study conducted by a time-saving spot-check method was implemented to quantify the behavioral risks. Of the 122 participants, 18 (14.8%; 95% confidence interval: 8.5, 21.0) were positive for S. japonicum. Among those diagnosed, the median (25−75% quartile) eggs per gram was 8 (8−16). A significant positive correlation with worm intensity was found among people who repair ships on the marshland (p&It;0.001), and this potential risk was consistent with previous suggestions. Although the parasitological techniques and study design require further improvements, our observational methods may be of use to explicitly identify behaviors at the local level that could be relevant to prevention.
Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) is a typical prebiotic agent. A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study was performed to evaluate the prebiotic effect of daily intake of an isotonic solution containing FOS on body weight gain and the reduction of diarrhea in children in an urban slum in Bangladesh over six consecutive months. We enrolled a total of 150 children, aged 25-59 months. Sixty-four children in the FOS group received 50 mL of isotonic solution with 2 g of FOS added, and 69 children in the placebo group were given an identical solution with 1 g of glucose added, once a day. The measurement of body weight was carried out every other day; height and arm circumference were measured once a month; and the children‘s mothers were interviewed to obtain data about diarrhea, the consistency and constitution of stool, other symptoms, and antibiotic treatment. As a result, the body weight gain during the six-month period was 0.86±0.55 kg in the FOS group and 0.89±0.48 kg in the placebo group, while the increase in height and arm circumference were not significantly different between the two groups. The number of diarrhea episodes during the six-month period was not significantly different. A significant reduction in the duration of diarrhea days and of duration per episode was observed in the FOS group (p=0.039 and p=0.008, respectively). In conclusion, daily intake of FOS was associated neither with the children‘s growth nor with the number of diarrhea episodes, but a significant reduction in the duration of diarrhea days was observed. Further studies are needed to confirm the effects of FOS by changing the doses and eliminating the influence of antibiotics.