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Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic worms found in contaminated fresh water sources

Schistosomiasis worms are found in fresh water such as rivers and lakes which have been contaminated with human faeces or urine. It is a disease primarily found in Sub-saharan Africa, however, is also in other developing countries. It is both a treatable and preventable disease.


How is Schistosomiasis spread?

The worms live in fresh water snails and release their larvae in search of human hosts. The larvae enter the body through the skin instantly, survive, and eventually lay eggs within the liver, gut lining or bladder.


What are the symptoms of Schistosomiasis?

Some people have no initial symptoms, others who become infected may develop a rash within a few hours.  After a month or two, an infected person may develop:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pains


Who is at risk?

Travellers swimming, bathing or washing in fresh water sources in areas where the disease occurs.


How to avoid Schistosomiasis

Avoid swimming, bathing and washing in fresh water sources where Schistosomiasis occurs. Drink safe, treated water. Heat bath water above 50°C for longer than 5 minutes before bathing. Discuss this with a Worldwise Travel Health Specialist for more information.


Further information about Schistosomiasis

If you have been travelling and think you might have been infected with Schistosomiasis, please contact your Worldwise Travellers Health Specialist.

Please note that the recommendations given are general guidelines as to what may be required for a trip to these countries. However, they really do depend on many factors of your travel itinerary and medical history. All travellers are strongly advised to make an appointment to see a WORLDWISE Travel Doctor for up to date advice (including a vaccination plan and anti-malaria recommendations) tailored specifically to your upcoming trip.

Remember, our Travel Health Specialists are travellers too and have probably been to the region that you are going to. They appreciate the importance of enjoying a problem-free trip and of staying healthy abroad.

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