Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by Zoey Sky
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasites called schistosomes. Different species of the parasitic fluke/worm spread the disease.
Schistosomiasis initially affects the intestines and the urinary system. However, since it lives in the blood, it can affect other body systems. Depending on the species of the parasite, different body parts can be affected by schistosomiasis. Some parasites target the lungs, spinal cord, or the brain and the central nervous system (CNS).
Individuals are usually infected via direct contact with contaminated fresh water where certain types of water snail live. These snails carry the worm, and a person may be infected after they paddle in, swim, or wash in contaminated water. Schistosomiasis can also infect people who eat food washed in untreated water.
Schistosomes enter the body when its larvae pass through the skin. The larvae emerge from snails and they enter the skin of people in the water. Once they infect people, the schistosomes develop into adult worms that live in the blood.
Schistosomiasis is also called bilharziosis or snail fever.
Some individuals can experience minor skin irritation when the parasites penetrate the skin. However, most patients don’t have any symptoms until the eggs develop, which often takes place at least one to two months following initial skin penetration.
Initial symptoms of the condition include chills, a cough, fever, and muscle aches.
While other patients don’t have any symptoms during the first two months of infection, a handful of individuals can develop acute schistosomiasis/Katayama fever during this period. They often experience symptoms like:
A lot of patients with chronic schistosomiasis have symptoms that develop at least months or even years after initial exposure to the parasites.
Below are the side effects linked to chronic schistosomiasis:
Individuals who travel to the following locations are at risk of developing schistosomiasis:
Schistosomiasis may cause the following complications:
Once the eggs enter the bloodstream and reach the vital organs, a patient can suffer from CNS heart, intestinal, and lung damage. Recurrent infections, especially over a period of years, can result in serious damage to the vital organs.
The following foods or nutrients can help prevent schistosomiasis or address its side effects:
Schistosomiasis is usually treated using praziquantel, a medication given as a short course to clear up an infection. The medication is effective even if a patient has reached an advanced stage of the disease.
While usually effective, praziquantel will only work if the patient doesn’t suffer from significant damage or complications. Praziquantel can’t prevent re-infection.
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasites called schistosomes.
Initial symptoms of the condition include chills, cough, and fever.
Schistosomiasis may cause complications like bladder cancer and liver damage.
Schistosomiasis is usually treated using praziquantel, a medication given as a short course to clear up an infection.
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