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Epidemiology and Health


OBJECTIVES: to achieve the ambitious goal of eliminating schistosome infections, the Chinese government has implemented diverse control strategies. This study explored the progress of the 2 most recent national schistosomiasis control programs in an endemic area along the Yangtze River in China.

METHODS: We obtained village-level parasitological data from cross-sectional surveys combined with environmental data in Anhui Province, China from 1997 to 2015. A convolutional neural network (CNN) based on a hierarchical integro-difference equation (IDE) framework (i.e., CNN-IDE) was used to model spatio-temporal variations in schistosomiasis. Two traditional models were also constructed for comparison with 2 evaluation indicators: the mean-squared prediction error (MSPE) and continuous ranked probability score (CRPS).

RESULTS: The CNN-IDE model was the optimal model, with the lowest overall average MSPE of 0.04 and the CRPS of 0.19. From 1997 to 2011, the prevalence exhibited a notable trend: it increased steadily until peaking at 1.6 per 1000 in 2005, then gradually declined, stabilizing at a lower rate of approximately 0.6 per 1000 in 2006, and approaching zero by 2011. During this period, noticeable geographic disparities in schistosomiasis prevalence were observed; high-risk areas were initially dispersed, followed by contraction. Predictions for the period 2012 to 2015 demonstrated a consistent and uniform decrease.

CONCLUSION: The proposed CNN-IDE model captured the intricate and evolving dynamics of schistosomiasis prevalence, offering a promising alternative for future risk modeling of the disease. The comprehensive strategy is expected to help diminish schistosomiasis infection, emphasizing the necessity to continue implementing this strategy.


Deep learning; National schistosomiasis control programs; Schistosomiasis; Spatio-temporal model

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