Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia or snail fever) is a chronic disease caused by parasitic worms that live in certain types of freshwater snails. Schistosomiasis is second only to malaria as the most devastating parasitic disease in tropical countries and is considered one of the most debilitating helminthic diseases among rural populations. The urinary tract or the intestines may be infected. Signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, or blood in the urine. Those who have been infected a long time may experience liver damage, kidney failure, infertility, or bladder cancer (squamous cell carcinoma). In children, it may cause poor growth and learning difficulty
HOW IS SCHISTOSOMIASIS DIAGNOSED?
An analysis of a stool and urine sample could help in finding the eggs of the parasite. Blood tests could reveal the antibodies needed to fight this disease.
HOW IS SCHISTOSOMIASIS TREATED?
The most common medication prescribed by a general physician to combat this disease is praziquantel which is recommended by the World Health Organization.
DID YOU KNOW?
Schistosomiasis is an important cause of disease in many parts of the world, most commonly in places with poor sanitation. School-age children who live in these areas are often most at risk because they tend to spend time swimming or bathing in water containing infectious cercariae.