Could This Child Have Schistosomiasis? When to Suspect It and What to Do About It

17 July 2020
Amaya L. Bustinduy, MD, MPH, PhD Andrew Edielu, MD, MSc Amy S. Sturt, MD, DTMH

Schistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, is a waterborne parasitic disease that affects over 230 million people worldwide, accounting for 1.44 million disability-adjusted life years lost.1,2 It is caused by trematode parasites of the genus Schistosoma, (S.) which have intricate life cycles requiring human freshwater contact and the presence of a suitable snail vector. Transmission occurs during freshwater contact, as cercariae penetrate human skin and migrate via major blood vessels to final venous plexuses. The lifespan of a schistosome ranges between 3 and 10 years but can live up to 40 years.

Schistosomiasis, the disease caused by Schistosoma infection, is comprised of 2 clinical syndromes: intestinal schistosomiasis or urogenital schistosomiasis, depending on the parasite’s vascular home. Morbidity relates to a hyper-immune response to egg antigen release, causing a granulomatous reaction impairing organ functioning.

This review aims to summarize the most common clinical manifestations of schistosomiasis in different populations of children (migrants versus returned travelers after short stays) with a proposed screening and treatment algorithm.

Read the article here.

Research Peer-reviewed publications Female Genital Schistosomiasis