BILHARZIA

Description:

Disease caused by Schistosoma spp. that can cause acute and chronic infection.

Symptoms:

  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in stools or urine,
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Enlargement of the liver and spleen
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inflammation and scarring of the bladder
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Enlargement of the liver or spleen
  • Secondary blood disorders in cases of colon damage
  • Children with repeated infection- develop anemia, malnutrition etc.

Causes:

  • Parasites of the genus Schistosoma- cause the disease
  • Mainly due to egg migration through tissue & human immune response to the egg
  • Transmission: people suffering from schistosomiasis contaminate freshwater sources

Risk factors:

  • Contact with freshwater sources
  • Prevalent in as many as 78 countries
  • Location:half of all documented cases residing in Africa
  • Children under age 14
  • Individuals with labor or domestic chores centered around freshwater areas
  • 240 million people worldwide affected

Diagnostic tests:

  • Detection of parasite eggs in stool or urine specimens
  • Antibodies and/or antigens detected in blood or urine samples
  • Kato-Katz technique (to detect eggs in faecal specimens)
  • Tissue biopsy

Treatments:

  • Praziquantel is the primary form of treatment
  • Steroid medication
  • A schistosomiasis vaccine is currently in the early stages of development

Medications:

  • Toxic metalloid: antimony
  • Oxamniquine
  • Oral medication: medicinal castor oil,gopo berry
  • Acrolein,copper sulphate and niclosamide
  • Mirazid: used for treatment of the disease

Lifestyle Management:

  • Access to safe water
  • Improved sanitation
  • Hygiene education
  • Snail control
  • Avoiding paddling, swimming and washing in fresh water
  • Boiling or filtering water before drinking
  • Avoiding medicines sold locally
  • Proper civic designs-to prevent spread of disease