Schistosomiasis is a potentially serious ailment but can be prevented. The condition affects the internal organs and due to an infection of parasitic worms that thrive in some varieties of freshwater snails. The parasites, specifically cercariae can infect the water where the snails thrive.
If the skin was exposed to the infected water, it can lead to schistosomiasis. The condition is mainly reported in tropical and subtropical areas. Areas with limited or no access to safe drinking water as well as poor regions face the highest risk for schistosomiasis. Many acquire the parasite from performing chores such as washing clothes or bathing using infected water.
Some of the indications of schistosomiasis start to develop within days while other cases take months. Some do not have any symptoms in the initial phase of the disease. The main symptoms are the bodily reactions to the parasites.
After days of being infected, a rash or itchy skin arises. In 1 or 2 months, the following might arise:
- Muscle aches
- Painful urination
- Blood-streaked urine or stool
- Abdominal pain
- Enlarged spleen or liver
After some time, schistosomiasis can cause significant damage to the bladder, liver, lungs and intestines.
Other symptoms that might arise include inflammation and scarring in the bladder, liver and intestines. Children who are repeatedly exposed to schistosomiasis can end up with malnutrition or anemia.
Management of schistosomiasis
The treatment for schistosomiasis includes medications. The doctor usually prescribes praziquantel to manage the condition.
Always bear in mind that serious complications can arise if schistosomiasis is not promptly treated which includes bladder cancer and liver damage. The prognosis is good if the treatment is started before internal damage occurs.