Our team of medical experts are ready to help

Your questions answered

Abdi asked...

I need to know risk factors of Schistosomiasis.

I need to get the best questionnaire to know risk factors of schistosoma haematobium distribution.

  • mother-thermometer-doctor-at-hand

    Do you need to see a GP quickly?


    Would you like to speak with a doctor by video or phone at a time that suits you?

    Our Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere, offers a doctor appointment by video or phone at a time that suits you.

The answer

Schistosomiasis otherwise known as 'bilharzia' is a parasitic infection which can be caught through bathing in contaminated water. It is most common in river waters in Africa and the Middle East. The small parasite sticks to and burrows through the skin causing swimmers itch. After 1-2 months the infected individual may start to feel unwell with fever, malaise with enlarged lymph nodes and urinary tract problems. The parasite’s eggs are then spread through the patients urine which may then pass once again back into lake and river water perpetuating the spread of this disease.

An antigen blood test is used to detect schistosomiasis but it may take a month or two after getting infected before it shows up positive. It can be treated effectively and cured with the use of drugs such as praziquantel but preventative measures are the most effective way to avoid widespread transmission of this disease.

The best way prevent getting infected is to avoid bathing or wading in potentially contaminated water - boiling water before using it for the bath or use water filters to remove the parasite before washing.

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, Better Health, to receive our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter