Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Infection with a species of Schistosoma; manifestations of this often chronic and debilitating disease vary with the infecting species but depend in large measure upon tissue reaction (granulation and fibrosis) to the eggs deposited in venules and in the hepatic portals, the latter resulting in portal hypertension and esophageal varices, as well as liver damage leading to cirrhosis.

Schistosomiasis is one of the most widespread of all parasitic infections. The WHO estimated that schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths represent more than 40% of the global disease burden caused by all Tropical diseases, excluding malaria.

Schistosomiasis is the most common parasite transmitted through contact with water particularly lakes & rivers. There are no reports of schistosomiasis contracting through Sea water. It is endemic in more than 90 low-income countries where it occurs in rural areas and the fringes of cities. Over 650 million people globally are at risk of infection, with more than 200 million people infected. Of these, 120 million are estimated to have symptoms, with 20 million people experiencing serious consequences. The economic effects and health implications of schistosomiasis are extensive. Higher disease rates occur in children with infection frequently found in those under 14 years in many risk areas.

The causative parasites may be Schistosoma haematobium, S. mansoni, and S. japonicum in majority of human disease. There is no statistical data available for animal with schistosomiasis.

Visit your Healthcare provider if you have traveled to a tropical or sub-tropical area where the disease is known to exist or if you have been exposed to contaminated or suspect bodies of water.


Symptoms may include:

    Initial invasion of the skin may cause itching and a rash (swimmer's itch). In this condition, the schistosome is destroyed within the skin.

  • Heavy infestation (many parasites) may cause fever, chills, lymph node enlargement, and Liver & Spleen enlargement.

  • Intestinal symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea (which may be bloody).

  • Urinary symptoms may include frequent urination, painful urination (dysuria), and blood in the urine (hematuria).


The Doctor or practitionerwill examine you. Tests that may be done include:

    Antibody test to check for signs of infection.

  • Biopsy of tissue.

  • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for signs of anemia.

  • Eosinophil count to measure the number of certain white blood cells.

  • Kidney function tests.

  • Liver function tests.

  • Stool examination to look for parasite eggs.

  • Urinalysis to look for parasite eggs.


Patients should be referred to an Infectious Disease for treatment. The drug of choice for schistosomiasis is Biltricide. Travellers should be advised to avoid swimming and wading in rivers and lakes, this includes popular destinations such as lake Malawi, Lugano, Ohrid, Tanganyika, Kivu, Magadi, Rukwa, Eyre, Mohave, and Granby.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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