|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative Names Return to topBilharzia; Katayama fever; Swimmer's itch; Blood fluke
Definition Return to top
Schistosomiasis is infection with a type of Schistosoma parasite.
Causes Return to top
You get a schistosoma infection through contact with contaminated water. The parasite in its infective stages is called a cercaria. It swims freely in open bodies of water.
On contact with humans, the parasite burrows into the skin, matures into another larval stage (schistosomula), then migrates to the lungs and liver, where it matures into the adult form.
The adult worm then migrates to its preferred body part, depending on its species. These areas include the bladder, rectum, intestines, liver, portal venous system (the veins that carry blood from the intestines to liver), spleen, and lungs.
Schistosomiasis is not usually seen in the United States. It is common in many tropical and subtropical areas worldwide, where it affects more than 200 million people.
Symptoms Return to top
Symptoms vary with the species of worm and the phase of infection.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
This infection is usually treated with the drug Praziquantel. If the infection is severe or involves the brain, corticosteroids may be given.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Treatment before significant damage or severe complications occur usually produces good results.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of schistosomiasis, especially 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.
Prevention Return to top
Snails are an intermediate host for the parasite. Getting rid of snails in bodies of water used by humans would help prevent infection.
References Return to topCarvalho EM, Lima AAM. Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis). In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 376. Update Date: 9/28/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.