Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis) Transmission, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Schistosomiasis (bilharziasis)
Schistosomiasis (bilharziasis)

Schistosomiasis or Bilharzia, also called snail fever, is a disease that is most commonly found to occur among the lower socioeconomic class or underdeveloped countries. It is usually contracted through water consumption that is contaminated with the larva of the parasites called Schistosomes. The disease is named after the scientist who discovered the disease, Theodore Bilharz, a German surgeon, in 1851. These are fluke-like parasites that cause a disease to turn into a chronic illness. These parasites live in the human body within the veins that empty into the intestine and the urinary tract. The eggs of Schistosome deposit in the tissues of the patients, and the body’s defense repose causes immense damage.

Contraction and transmission

Schistosomiasis is caused mainly by the three species of Schistosoma called S haematobium, S mansoni, and S japonicum. The less prevalent species are S mekongi and S intercalatum. Still, they do not contribute to systemic disease in humans. The main source of contracting the larva of this parasite is the usage or consumption of infected water. Wading and swimming within the infested water increased the risk of developing this infestation. Therefore, in-depth screening of the travel history and drinking water sources should be done in order to eliminate the possibility of Schistosomiasis infestation.

Written by Martin Davis