Schistosomes and soil-transmitted helminths currently infect a third of the world's human population. An important feature of these parasitic infections is their focal distribution, which has significant implications for control. Only a few studies have been carried out at the microepidemiological scale, comparing infection levels among individuals or households within a single village. In this study, data are presented from a cross-sectional survey, examining all children attending a primary school in rural Côte d'Ivoire over several consecutive days for Schistosoma mansoni, soil-transmitted helminths, and intestinal protozoa. All houses in the main village were mapped, and school children were linked to these households for small-area spatial analyses. Comparison between the 260 school children who live within the main village and the 89 children who reside in nearby settlements revealed significant differences in the overall prevalence and intensity of infections with S. mansoni and hookworm, confirming the focal nature of these 2 parasites. On the other hand, S. mansoni and hookworm infections exhibited random spatial patterns within the main village. The validity of these results is discussed in the context of this epidemiological setting, drawing attention to the issue of scale. Our findings have direct implications for intervention because they call for a uniform, community-wide approach to control schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Implementation can be relatively straightforward, and the proposed control approach might be cost-effective and prove sustainable.

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