Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia or “snail fever”, is a parasitic disease carried by fresh water snails infected with one of the five varieties of the parasite Schistosoma.
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. Symptoms and signs depend on the number and location of eggs trapped in the tissues.
Praziquantel is the primary form of treatment. 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.54% of hospital consultant episodes for schistosomiasis were single day episodes in Norway