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[Correspondence] Underestimation of the global burden of schistosomiasis

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study aims to determine the cumulative global disability that is attributable to diverse diseases, the knowledge of which is essential in targeting public health responses, prioritising funding, and guiding research. The 2016 GBD study (Sept 16, 2017, p 1211)1 suggested that, of all 328 diseases considered, schistosomiasis showed the most pronounced reduction in age-standardised years lived with disability (YLD) between 2006 and 2016. Schistosomiasis was ranked in the top ten for YLDs in six sub-Saharan countries but was now reported to account for only 1·496 million YLD worldwide (down from the 2·472 million YLD estimated in the 2015 GBD Study);2 we think that the apparent drop is an artifact caused by underestimation of the effects of schistosoma infections and because of several limitations to the methods in the new GBD calculations.