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Preventive measures and Drugs meant for Schistosomiasis


SchistosomiasisSchistosomiasis is also termed as ‘snail fever’ or bilharzias. It is a chronic and acute parasitic (Schistosoma) disease caused by worms which water snails carry in them. There are five varieties of the parasite Schistosoma, namely, Schistosoma mansoni, schistosoma intercalatum, Schistosoma japonicum, schistosoma mekongi and Schistosoma haematobium. Most people get infected by this disease while doing occupational, agricultural, recreational, and domestic activities that exhibit them to infested water. Even though these worms causing Schistosomiasis are not found in the United States, research on Schistosomiasis drugs market states that approximately more than 200 million people are infected across the world. Concerning the impact, this disease comes secondary after malaria as the most desolating parasitic disease. Also, Schistosomiasis is believed to be one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). One can get infected if he or she comes in contact with the contaminated fresh water. Found preponderantly in sub-tropical and tropical climates, this disease is widespread in as many as 78 countries, with more percent of prevalence in Africa. It is transmitted by contact with contaminated waters in ponds, lakes, dams, and rivers that are populated by snails which carry parasite. The larvae emerge from the snails and swim in the fresh water till the time they come into contact with an individual and penetrate the skin.

Schistosomiasis Symptoms

The many symptoms of this disease differ based on the type of worm and area of the parasite internally in the body.

  • Anemia
  • Fever, muscle aches and chills
  • Scarring and inflammation of bladder
  • Enlarged lymph node
  • Bloody and painful urine
  • Bloody diarrhea and pain in the abdomen
  • In case of colon damage, secondary blood disorders
  • Spleen and liver enlargement
  • Bladder cancer, if the infection remains

Treatment and Drugs for Schistosomiasis

Most of the Schistosomiasis is passed out of the body in the urine and feces. However, some of the eggs linger in the body and travel to some particular organs, based on the type of the parasite and where they can wreck maximum damage. Intestinal Schistosomiasis generates slowly, leading to abdominal bleeding, swollen lungs and spleen, liver and major damage to the intestines. One of the crucial signs of this disease is blood in the feces and/or urine.

Presently there are two available drugs for the treatment of Schistosomiasis, and they are praziquantel and oxamniquine. Both these drugs are equally considered to be in efficient and the first option of treatment in praziquantel. The treatment is objective to completely treat the disease and to avoid the evolution of the acute to chronic form of Schistosomiaisis. The treatment is given I the tablet form and is prescribed as a solo or double dose on the same day. Mostly individuals, who get schistosomiasis treatment, do tend to recover fast and get better. Praziquantel obliterates the adult worms by causing paralysis and extreme spasms in their muscles. The remains leftover after the treatment are then broken down gradually by the body. The parasites which reach the adult stage can be killed irrespective of them being inside a patient with chronic infection. When the infection is treated at an early stage, the drugs are not very efficient at eliminating the parasites. There are a few other options of Schistosomiasis drugs which are prescribed as well. These comprise of artesunate, mefloquine, or metrifonate which is the most effective against S. haematobium.

Prevention of Schistosomiasis:

  • Prevent from being in contact with bodies of water of unknown safety.
  • Prevent bathing or swimming in infected or likely contaminated water.
  • Snails are a transitional host for the parasite, getting rid of snails from water bodies that are used by people will assist in preventing the infection from spreading.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.