Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharziasis) is a chronic disease caused by past or present infection with parasitic blood flukes of any of five Schistosomaspecies: S. mansoni, S. japonicum, S. mekongi, S. intercalatum, or S. haematobium.
Schistosoma parasites can penetrate the skin of persons who are wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated water. Within days after becoming infected, you may develop a rash or itchy skin. Fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches can begin within 1-2 months of infection. Most people have no symptoms at this early phase of infection.
Praziquantel, a prescription medication, is taken for 1-2 days to treat infections caused by all Schistosoma species.Schistosomiasis is an important cause of disease in many parts of the world, most commonly in places with poor sanitation. School-age children who live in these areas are often most at risk because they tend to spend time swimming or bathing in water containing infectious cercariae.