Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma. People are infected during routine agricultural, domestic, occupational and recreational activities which expose them to infested water.
Schistosomiasis is due to immunologic reactions to Schistosoma eggs trapped in tissues. Antigens released from the egg stimulate a granulomatous reaction involving T cells, macrophages, and eosinophils that results in clinical disease. Central nervous system (CNS) involvement occurs because of embolization of eggs from the portal mesenteric system to the brain and spinal cord via the paravertebral venous plexus.
Praziquantel, a prescription medication, is taken for 1-2 days to treat infections caused by all Schistosoma species. More than 207 million people, 85% of who live in Africa, are infected with schistosomiasis, and an estimated 700 million people are at risk of infection in 76 countries where the disease is considered endemic, as their agricultural work, domestic chores, and recreational activities expose them to infested water.