“Farewell to the God of Plague: Archives of Fighting Schistosomiasis in the People’s Republic of China” was recommended to the Sixth Symposium on Surveillance-Response Systems Leading to Tropical Disease Elimination

On the Sixth Symposium on Surveillance-Response Systems Leading to Tropical Disease Elimination held virtually between June 14 and 15, professor Xiao-Nong Zhou, the editor of the book titled by “Farewell to the God of Plague: Archives of Fighting Schistosomiasis in the Peoples Republic of China” introduced the book to participants. This book depicts the splendid history of schistosomiasis control campaign in China.


"If the Cowherd inquired about the Plague God, say: His joy is washed away just as our sorrows are". After learning the news that schistosomiasis had been eliminated in Yujiang County, Jiangxi Province in 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong was excited and expressed his joy in the poetry “Farewell to the God of Plague”. Schistosomiasis was heavily endemic and imposed a huge impact on the socio-economic development in the Yangtze River Valley at the beginning of the Peoples Republic of China. The Chairman Mao Zedong called "must eradicate schistosomiasis" in 1955. Comparing to the rampant schistosomiasis epidemic, elimination of schistosomiasis in Yujiang County naturally made Mao Zedong delighted.


Schistosomiasis has seriously harmed people health and hindered socio-economic development. Since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China has made remarkable achievements in schistosomiasis control. In 2015, the criteria for transmission control of schistosomiasis were reached at the national level; the infection rate of human and livestock decreased to less than 1%. In 2020, five provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) including Guangdong, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangxi and Zhejiang, among the 12 schistosomiasis endemic provinces achieved the criteria of elimination.  Four provinces, i.e. Sichuan, Jiangsu, Yunnan and Hubei met the criteria of transmission interruption. Among the 450 endemic counties (cities and districts) in China, 337 have achieved elimination of schistosomiasis and 98 reached transmission interruption. The rest of 15 counties maintained transmission control. The "Healthy China 2030" plan approved in 2016 puts forward the goal of "all endemic counties in China will reach the criteria of schistosomiasis elimination" by 2030.


Since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, a large amount of historical data and rich experience in prevention and control have been recorded in the schistosomiasis control campaign. In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, the National Health Commission organized experts and managers on schistosomiasis control to systematically sort out the progress of schistosomiasis control led by the Communist Party of China and comprehensively display the achievements and experiences of schistosomiasis control, and finally compiled the book "Farewell to the God of Plague: Archives of Fighting Schistosomiasis in the Peoples Republic of China ".


The book comprehensively reviews the history of the party and the government leading the people in the endemic areas to control schistosomiasis, truly records the great campaign against the "plague" in public health. The book also systematically summarizes Chinas experiences and lessons in schistosomiasis control.


The book includes eight chapters. The first chapter describes the serious harm caused by schistosomiasis before 1949. The second to sixth chapters introduce the history, strategies and measures, and their effectiveness since 1949. The seventh chapter shows the achievements and experiences of schistosomiasis control in China. Chapter 8 interprets the special culture and spirits formed during the 70-year schistosomiasis control campaign. The two appendixes list the major events of schistosomiasis control in China in the form of "memorabilia", as well as some leaders inscriptions on schistosomiasis control.


This book has collected a large number of valuable documents, many of which are published for the first time. The compilation of the book is supported by National Health Commission, Ministry of agriculture and rural areas, Ministry of water resources, State Forestry and Grassland Administration, and Provincial Health Commission in 12 endemic provinces. Meanwhile, Chinese Center for Disease Control and prevention (China CDC), National Institute of Parasitic Disease at China CDC, Jiangxi Provincial Institute of Parasitic Diseases, China Schistosomiasis Control Museum based in Yujiang County, as well as Provincial Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Institutes of Parasitic Diseases (Schistosomiasis) in all endemic provinces provide many data and photos.


This book is dedicated to all those who have made great efforts and contributions to the schistosomiasis control in China, as well as to friends who care about schistosomiasis control.