Schistosomiasis bilharzia

The first clinical sign is a local skin reaction at the site of penetration of the parasite (it then invades liver, bowel and bladder). This site is known as 'swimmer's itch'. Within a week or so there is a generalised allergic response usually with fever, malaise, myalgia and urticaria. A gastroenteritis-like syndrome can occur (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea) and respiratory symptoms, particularly cough. Clinical findings, such as trypanosomiasis, include lymphadenopathy and hepatosplenomegaly. The infestation is caused by parasite organisms (schistosomes) whose eggs are passed in human excreta, which contaminates watercourses (notably stagnant water) and irrigation channels in Egypt, other parts of Africa, South America, some parts of South-East Asia and China. Freshwater snails are the carriers (vectors).

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