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Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasites. Schistosoma is the genus of the several species of flatworms that are responsible for causing this disease. Schistosomiasis is popularly known as snail fever. Theodor Bilharz was the first to describe the cause of urinary schistosomiasis in 1851, and this disease is also called Bilharzia or Bilharziosis in many countries after him.

Causes of Bilharzia

This disease mostly affects the tropical countries like Africa , the Caribbean islands, and eastern part of South America , East Asia , and the Middle East . Estimation shows that about 207 million people are suffering from this disease, and about another 120 million are displaying the symptoms. Different types of Schistosomiasis are found in different areas as follows:

Schistosoma mansoni—parts of South America and the Caribbean , Africa , and the Middle East

Schistosoma haematobium— Africa and the Middle East

Schistosoma japonicum— Far East . S. Mekongi and S. intercalatum are found focally in Southeast Asia and central West Africa , respectively

Schistosomiasis is one of the most commonly picked up disease in developing countries which is acquired by swimming in such water bodies that are infested with snails, usually the biomphlaria, bulinus, or the oncomelania types, or which are the carriers of the schistosoma pathogens.

Types of Bilharzia

Depending on their clinical presentation, different species of schistosomiasis affect different organs of the body. The five species of flatworms causing schistosomiasis and the area they affect are as follows:

Schistosoma mansoni (ICD-10 B65.1)— intestinal schistosomiasis

Schistosoma intercalatum (B65.8)—intestinal schistosomiasis

Schistosoma haematobium (B65.0)—urinary schistosomiasis

Schistosoma japonicum (B65.2)—intestinal schistosomiasis

Schistosoma mekongi (B65.8)—intestinal schistosomiasis

Symptoms of Bilharzia

Since schistosomiasis is chronic in nature, symptoms like mild anemia and malnutrition are common in affected areas. Katayama's fever or acute schistosomiasis has been seen to occur weeks after the patient is infected. This is most true for patients infected with schistosoma mansoni and schistosoma japonicum. The major symptoms are:

Abdominal pain

Diarrhea

Cough

Extremely high Eosinophil count

Fever

Fatigue

Enlargement of liver and spleen

Central nervous system lesions can also occur sometimes

Granulomatous reactions and fibrosis in the affected organs can lead to

Colonic polyposis with bloody diarrhea mostly in Schistosoma mansoni;

Portal hypertension with hematemesis and splenomegaly in Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma japonicum;

Cystitis and ureteritis with hematuria leading to bladder cancer in Schistosoma haematobium; Pulmonary hypertension in Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma japonicum, and even Schistosoma haematobium;

Glomerulonephritis; and central nervous system lesions.

How is the disease diagnosed?

Eggs of the infecting parasite can be identified in the stool or urine of the patient under a microscope. Examination of stool for the identification of the parasites is more common. An egg per gram (epg) is the scientific unit used to measure the eggs in the feces of the affected patient. Stool examination is recommended to patients affected with schistosoma mansoni or schistosoma japonicum; and urine examination for schistosoma haematobium.

Sometimes the Kato-Katz technique (20 to 50 mg of fecal material) or the Ritchie technique is also used for field surveys and investigational purposes.

A team led by Dr. Russell Stothard, head of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative at the Natural History Museum , London , recently conducted a field evaluation, which reported that even if stool or urine examinations are negative, a tissue biopsy might reveal eggs. Detection of antibody might as well be useful for epidemiological surveys as well as clinical research and management.

Treatment of Bilharzia

Schistosomiasis can be successfully treated using an oral drug Praziquantel. Though a single dose of this drug can cure the infection, it is not effective in preventing re-infection of the patient, which is highly probable in an affected area. Researches are presently being carried on to develop a vaccine for this disease.

The toxic metalloid, antimony was initially used in low doses to treat schistosomiasis, but this is not used in present days. Another drug called Oxamniquine is used outside the U.S to treat Schistosoma mansoni.

Investigations are being carried on a new Egyptian drug, Mirazid for the treatment of this disease.

Other forms of oral medication that are being experimented with are medicinal castor oil, Gopo Berry (by Dr Chidzere of Zimbabwe in 1980s), etc.

Prevention of Bilharzia

A few countries have eradicated the disease, and many more are working towards it. The World Health Organization is promoting efforts working towards this goal. In some cases, urbanization, pollution, and/or consequent destruction of snail habitat has reduced exposure, with a subsequent decrease in new infections.

Avoiding snails

Acrolein, copper sulfate, and niclosamide can be used to eliminate the fresh-water snails that cause the disease.

Crayfish breeding can also be helpful for the purpose though it must be done with caution.

Avoiding water bodies previously detected with snails.

Use of sapindus plant(Phytolacca dodecandra) to prevent the disease by controlling snails. Aklilu Lemma and Legesse Wolde-Yohannes received the Right Livelihood Award in 1989 for their research.

Proper civic designs

Better plans and designs while creating dams and irrigation schemes can prevent this disease from spreading among the nearby population.

Properly designed Campaigns

Egypt is an example of how a wrongly designed campaign can give rise to further complications. Since Egypt had the highest rate of schistosomiasis infected patients due to its large number of canals and dams built along river Nile, a campaign was carried out to give shots of tartar emetics to the patients from late 1950s till the early 1980s.Unfortunately however, instead of controlling one disease, this led to the spread of Hepatitis C virus through unclean needles. This proves the necessity of proper campaigns.

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i have been searching for this kind of information long ago .i had a problem based on this disease and i was even admitted to hospital for it,the doctors couldnt tell me that i had it.im still suffering from this disease even today n im glad that i found information n cure for it.
#1 - xolani ntombela - 09/02/2009 - 05:29
Thanx for creating a source of informatisation, enquiry and what so ever for the public, more. It's of critically imperative to ensure splendid health in our background societies.
#2 - Mokgerere Ramohlala Aubrey - 09/18/2009 - 13:15
i highly appreciate that you managed to bare in mind that the caddle does not lose its light by lighting another caddle. mokgerere ramohlala aubrey
#3 - Mokgerere Ramohlala Aubrey - 10/09/2009 - 16:26
i have contact this disease call bilharzia since i was 12years of age and now i am 34yrs, when my parent took me to the hospital i was only given a drug called ambilia which is no longer in sale in my country. but thank god with this your beautiful information,con this mention drug call praziquantel cure me. because since i was infected i always have this constant movement and biting in my [@] pipe,what will i do please advise
#4 - sonja soje - 10/29/2009 - 14:16
i have the disease bilharzia and i think its the urinal type but i have done nothing in treating it because i cant afford the hospital myself nad i have no one to help.please help me with the drug if you can.thanks
#5 - osman ankrah - 03/22/2010 - 11:31
I had Bilharzia for a long time, it remained dormant in me for nearly 15 years before going into effect, i suffered terribly from it. when it went into full effect and making me ill it was about 6 months before being treated, what i would like to know what are the long term affects of Bilharzia if not treated soon enough?
#6 - DD - 04/06/2010 - 04:09
I just discovered that my son 9yrs old has been p[@]ing out pale red urine for three days now and i [@]ume he got it from the school swimming pool. Does it dissapear on its on or he has to get treated.
#7 - Nozipho Dube - 04/27/2010 - 07:23
thanks guys!
Am a scuba diver. Working in a water body logged with small snails. And am looking out for any symptoms that may show up.
Thanks to ur info i havent sensed any, however, my question is R there particular snails that spread the disease or do all snails cause the disease.
I cant dogde the location coz its a work site.
Thank you.
#8 - samson muta - 08/08/2010 - 03:09
I have been to the very best Drs in the UK, including the Hospital for Tropical diseases, nothing was detected, only a heavily infected bladder wall. I suspected that I had a parasite, that is playing "games" with me and the Drs.
I just got back from Africa on a further quest to find this thing. I went to Dr Leon Bohme in Sweizer-Reinecke, a homeopathic Dr. he detected Bilharzia and I am now under his supervision.
The Tropical Drs want to do another biopsy of my bladder as they do not believe in the diagnosis of Dr Bohme.
Dr Bohme has picked this up through the VEGA test, a German mashine that work on electro-magnetic fields.
I will let you know how it goes.
Thank you
#9 - Zelda - 10/22/2010 - 03:58
Quiet interestn 4 gettn ds message.In fact my problem is i'v pain p[@]n urine,yellow n at times abdominal pain. Could it be bilharzia? Indeed i think of gon 4d praziquantel.
#10 - mahama karim - 11/07/2010 - 04:52
I had bilharzia 12 years ago and had it treated then, i have not been back in an affected area since then and now have a very itchy skin and rash, is there a chance that the bilharzia has reoccured, thanks
#11 - mark Gregory - 11/30/2010 - 02:59
I was treated recently and the doctor could see a structural change in my Liver which is of possible syptom to biliharzia. Apart from that the other syptoms like itching, abdomonal pain are present. I also know that I grew up swimming in the river which is known to have biliharzia. What solution would you suggest? Best Regards
#12 - Victor - 03/01/2011 - 06:49
Thanks for this infor.i tested last year and my result appear like this bilharzia makers IgM ABN h
result 1.2
reference 0.0-1.1
unit ISR
can any one plz help me i don't undastnd this result my email s luc[@][email protected]
#13 - Lucas ngobeni - 03/11/2011 - 18:49
Many clinics in Kenya do not suspect bilhazia while diagnosing ilnesses yet, it might be affecting many people. Does it have any [@]ociation with amoeba?
#14 - Opiyo - 03/15/2011 - 01:18
i have this disease since i was 11 years old and now i'm 19 and i still have it and i don't know where i can find a drug that can cure me.
#15 - mathew - 03/18/2011 - 17:07
I had this disease since 2002.where can i get drug. from zimbabwe
#16 - Muno - 06/07/2011 - 12:41
Thx n God bless for the info. Am suspecting bilharzia in my 11year old but he has only severe abdominal pains. Tests dont show any problem on any organ, the stool and urine are ok, ultrasound scan show normal results but i dont know why the pains?? Pliz help could it be ulcers in juniors?? my email is [email protected] Thx
#17 - muerah Uganda - 07/26/2011 - 09:30
I was unfortunate enough to contract bilharzia from Lake Malawi, it was not detected until I had my last falopian tube removed after experiencing 6 ectopic pregancies. Please, if you are having trouble holding onto your pregancies and have travelled to Africa, please get tested for bulharzia.
#18 - kiwi aj - 08/29/2011 - 20:08
We work at a lodge on Lake Victoria which is supposed to have bilharzia, do you find it in fast moving water or water that hardly moves.
We do now and then get very small snails that wash up on the beach after a storm dont know if they are bilharzia snails or not, can anyone advise
#19 - merle Tanzania - 09/24/2011 - 01:58
thanks for the explaination i knw understand bilharzia better
#20 - gladys ofosu dadzie - 10/20/2011 - 14:57
In my case it took me 13 years to know that l had been infected with bilharzia. l started havig abdonimal pains since 2002 and doctors suspected me to have acquired ulcers, Acids, STIs etc but nothing proved to be true. This year , the pains got even worse, coupled with a peninal itching and discharge. l got tested for all forms of STIs and all my results were negative. Only after visiting a specialist doctor who carried out a urine and a blood test , he advised me that l had been infected with Bilharzia. He prescribed bitricide 2240mg, which is a single dose.l advise to those who are still unware of their plight to approach the specialist doctors and also getting tested. l hope the information will you. thanks
#21 - PC-ZIMBABWE - 10/22/2011 - 03:53
please note that bilharzia never goes away,
you need to take the drugs anaully in order to controll it. I have had it now for 30+ years and take the
drug biltricide at least every 18 months. symtons very from person to person.
#22 - martin ex zimbabwean - 11/25/2011 - 04:13
recentlly ihad this deises on me iget this theatment but it comes out when itake it
#23 - yeabiyo - 03/20/2012 - 09:27
I Got bilhazer for most of my life. I got in Rhodesia from fishing and swiming in a lake it has a lot of Bilhazer in the water. I still got it,i went to a Dr in the UK. He throth he kill the Bilhazer. The Dr gave a tablet called FRAZIQUANTAL tables take 2 tables as directed and then anouther 2 tables 6 Hours later. Can you Help me Please I alway Tryed.
#24 - Trevor Mallalieu - 04/18/2012 - 15:46
I Got bilhazer for most of my life. I got in Rhodesia from fishing and swiming in a lake it has a lot of Bilhazer in the water. I still got it,i went to a Dr in the UK. He throth he kill the Bilhazer. The Dr gave a tablet called FRAZIQUANTAL tables take 2 tables as directed and then anouther 2 tables 6 Hours later. Can you Help me Please I alway Tryed.I can you take me to see a Spicalist.
#25 - Trevor Mallalieu - 04/18/2012 - 15:51
Thanks for info I got bilhazia for over 15yrs I got the treatment for it bt I hav To go for check up next week. I'm afraid that I might hav got Bladder cancer.
#26 - lebo - 05/01/2012 - 17:37
i was diagnoise with bilharzia at the age of 15 years. i use to swim in lakes nearby my household with friends and my brother. when time goes on i was starting to urinate blood and i went to the clinic to get some help. and the nurse said i have bilharzia the she gave me pills and i was healded in two weeks. so i would like to encourage others if they urinate blood they must visit the clinic to get help may be the are suffering from bilharzia thanks
#27 - norman khoza - 05/26/2012 - 05:39
i was suspected having bilhazia cos i stated urinating blood though i was told by a chemist i am under medication but this site has really give me hope.
#28 - hussein-kenya - 10/18/2012 - 15:16
it been 26 i had bilharza Dr had not seen ,itching skill,affect nerves,my interperonal skills as well,went to physician request him to worm that one can get from water and it came positive i very happy very soon will start treatment@need [email protected]
#29 - Siyanga Nxumalo - 03/08/2013 - 12:58
I grew in Rhodesia and have had Bihlarzia for for about 35 years now, i would suggest taking Praziquantil at least once a year. it kills the parasites but not the eggs. which some how seem to hatch again in the body. until there is a confirmed cure, this is what i do.
#30 - Martin Victor - 03/12/2013 - 03:24
Yaa pals im from zimbabwe i got this disease 4 years ago ie 2008 the problem is that i told nurses and doctors about what i was feelings , loss of appetite abdominal pains p[@]ing on very hard stool but the did not listen to what i was telling them they kept on treating sti injections after injections In feb this year who diagonise bilhazia i was given the treament but it failed to work i dont know what to do next my email is [email protected]
#31 - Austin muzondo - 04/23/2013 - 13:02
From Mozambique.i waz affected with bilhazia frm 1996,since dat yr i hv'nt took any treatment so as frm last 2 wks i'm feeling pain at ryt hand of my amblical code so dn't know what is it?
#32 - Kelvin Augustane - 04/30/2013 - 10:14
I am from south Africa and I really don't were the disease come from as I am staying at the urban area and I have a water purification in my house, I am indeed concern about the disease and how it affect me, my family, and my work. I am always tired and ill. I am taking a medication and I hope I will be healed soon.
#33 - solly molobela - 07/10/2013 - 03:26
I have bothered to read this information because I was told today by Medical personnel that I have the desease. My question is how I got it. I always make sure water is clean before drinking it. Any, medication has been provide and I am sure it will clear out soon.
God Bless.
#34 - Kamanya - 08/15/2013 - 11:02
please help me guys i try many doctors but still the same from 2002 until now i am sufering that bilhazia its to pain i dont know what to do please can someone type the name of that drug so that i can buy it. my email is [email protected]
#35 - Prince moyo - 09/20/2013 - 23:24
this is exactly wat i need 4 my 2morrow's medical nursing 1 one cl[@]. good bye.
#36 - Dongkurah Emmauel - 10/14/2013 - 13:35
dose anybody know when was this disese found what year?
#37 - tolla - 03/10/2014 - 05:59
As far as i know Bilharzia disease,we can simply use wine or strong alcohol to kill the parasite inside the body ,that is found or live in a different part of the body that may cause hematuria or blood in the urine..
#38 - Angelita Tibon - 05/07/2014 - 02:26
I have been looking for this infomation for quite long. Thanx
#39 - Albert Mdikwa - 07/03/2014 - 20:34
I've been living with dis disease 4 da most 8yrs coz now am 20 wat I want is 2 get da drug dat can cure dis bilhazior parasite coz I've been living in hell n wat I cn ask is dat wil I be able 2 gve birth,,, afta reading sum buks I realized dat am sick coz dat symptoms happen 2 me . .I need help pls pupil. ..Email me on dis Winnie@0765349097. com thnx in God we trust
#40 - Mathebula Motlatso - 08/12/2014 - 11:25
i gt bilharzia 20yearz ago i tried diffrent medication but to no avail now i feel back pain,skin itching, pain in my stool ,diahrria ,eish im in big pain , pliz help me im feeling like i will die today
#41 - tendai chimatira - 09/18/2014 - 11:50
my no 0772147147/071735335
#42 - tendai chimatira - 09/18/2014 - 11:53
guys do bilharzia cause sum rash
#43 - tinashe - 10/18/2014 - 14:41
Have been suffering for eight years wrongly diagnosed with tress, anemia, rhino sinus, name it. until recently i tested positive with bilharzia. have taken praziquantel but does not seem to help. i get one sided headache, dizziness, weakness on left side of the body. have been advised to do MRI scan to check for cerebral bilharzia. hope i can solve this once and for all.
#44 - Mildred Katusabe - 11/06/2014 - 02:48
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