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.
Safe and effective medication is available for treatment of both urinary and intestinal schistosomiasis. Praziquantel, a prescription medication, is taken for 1-2 days to treat infections caused by all Schistosoma species. Globally, 200,000 deaths are attributed to schistosomiasis annually.