A disease caused by the infestation of the parasitic schistosomes (Schistosoma spp.)
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by the infestation of schistosomes. Schistosomes are digenetic trematode worms of the genus Schistosoma. They are also referred to as blood flukes. They are also called as such because they infest the the urinary or mesenteric blood vessels of their definitive hosts. Eggs shed by the female worms pass to the outside in the urine or faeces, but many also lodge in and obstruct the blood flow in the liver. Eosinophils seem to be particularly important in the killing of the invasive larval stage (schistosomulum). Evasion of the host’s immune response by adult schistosomes seems to involve the acquisition of a coat of host cell surface material by the parasite.
Hundreds of millions of people are infected with schistosomiasis making it an overwhelming parasitic disease. According to World Health Organization, more than 61.6 million people were treated for schistosomiasis in 2014.1
- snail fever
- Schistosomiasis haematobia
- Schistosomiasis haematobium
- Schistosomiasis intercalatum
- Schistosomiasis mansoni
- Schistosomiasis mekongi
- Schistosomiasis japonica
1 “Schistosomiasis Fact Sheet”. World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs115/en/.