(pathology) Schistosomiasis that is particularly caused by Schistosoma mekongi infestation, and mainly afflicts children in the Mekong delta
Schistosomiasis is a disease that results from schistosome infestation. Schistosomes are trematode worms and are parasites that inhabit the urinary or mesenteric blood vessels of their definitive hosts. The signs and symptoms include poor growth, bloody stool or urine, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The possible complications of the disease include infertility, kidney failure, liver damage, squamous cell carcinoma, etc. There are many forms of schistosomiasis based on the species causing the disease: schistosomiasis japonicum, schistosomiasis haematobium, schistosomiasis intercalatum, schistosomiasis mansoni, and schistosomiasis mekongi.
Schsitosomiasis mekongi is a schistosomiasis caused particularly by Schistosoma mekongi. It afflicts children in the Mekong delta, where it was discovered. Children ages 7 to 15 are the most at risk. The disease is similar to schistosomiasis japonica. The species makes use of Neotricula aperta, a snail species, as its intermediate host. Dogs are its main reservoir host. Humans are its primary mammalian host. The infestation is particularly high during the dry season when the waters recede, snails mature, and potential hosts populate the area. The worm leaves the snail and enters its definitive host to inhabit the mesenteric vessels. The eggs are released together with the feces or urine but others are swept to the liver via the bloodstream. The presence of eggs in livers may lead to inflammation and localized fibrosis, which in time, leads to liver enlargement.1
1 Mahmoud, A. (2001). Schistosomiasis. London River Edge, NJ: Imperial College Press World Scientific Pub. Co. p. 402ff.