Schistosomiasis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite called a fluke.
Flukes are common in rivers and lakes in tropical areas in South America, Africa, and Asia
You can get schistosomiasis by swimming or bathing in water that has flukes in it
The flukes burrow into your skin and travel through your blood
They eventually end up in small blood vessels inside your intestines or your bladder
Symptoms first include an itchy rash, followed by fever, chills, muscle aches, weakness, and belly pain
Doctors test samples of your stool (poop) and urine for fluke eggs
Doctors treat you with anti-parasite medicine to kill the flukes
Schistosomiasis is caused by a parasite called a fluke, which is a type of roundworm. Adult flukes are about ¼ to ¾ of an inch long (1 to 2 centimeters).
You get schistosomiasis from swimming, wading, or bathing in fresh water that has these flukes.
The flukes in your bladder or intestine lay many eggs:
Most people have no symptoms. When the flukes first enter your skin, you may get:
After a few weeks, you may start to feel sick and have symptoms such as:
Depending on where the adult flukes are in your body you may have:
A bad infection can make you lose enough blood to develop:
Anemia (low red blood cell count)
Schistosomiasis can also affect other organs, such as your lungs, spinal cord, kidneys, and brain.
Doctors suspect schistosomiasis from your symptoms, especially if you've recently been swimming or bathing in possibly infected water. Doctors check for schistosomiasis by looking for fluke eggs in your:
You can help prevent schistosomiasis by:
Not swimming, bathing, or wading in areas known to contain flukes
In areas where flukes are a problem, boiling water or storing it for a day or two before washing with it
Drying off vigorously with a towel if you accidentally get into contaminated water—this helps remove parasites before they burrow through your skin
When the eggs hatch in water, the flukes infect snails. So sometimes people put chemicals that kill snails in bodies of fresh water known to contain flukes.