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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  GP with over 27 years experience including emergency medicine
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what are the long term effects of schistosomiasis? what is

Customer Question

what are the long term effects of schistosomiasis? what is the treatment? other than the Nile, where else in the world can it be contracted?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Family Physician replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question:

Schisosomiasis can be contracted in Africa including sub-Saharan Africa, South American and the Caribbean.

Long-term (chronic) schistomsomiasis can give symptoms of abdominal pain, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), gastrointestinal bleeding (blood in the stool), and an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Here is an excellent resource for detailed information about this disease.
http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/schistosomiasis/
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I was on a ranch in Johannesburg, South Africa appro 18 months ago. My blood has tested positive for schistosomiasis, however because I said I hadn't been to Egypt, the hepatologist said it can ony be contracted from swimming in the Nile and said that I couldn't possibly have it and I have to wait to be retested and se was referring me back to my GP. I was disappointed as I thought I had finally made some progress towards a partial dx at least and I have waited in pain since January for a further MRI and specialist appt. I have had chronic severe pain in the gallbladder/liver area plus 10 kidney indections in past 12 months, including several prolonged hospital admissions, and have had lots of tests and retests to no avail. Is it not worth icing me medication for schistosomiasis rather than retest? I am being passed around from gastroenterologist to hepatologist, urologist, neurologist and surgeons with no success. Everyone says they do not know. Thank you
Expert:  Family Physician replied 4 years ago.
This condition does indeed occur in South Africa. Here is one article looking at dams in South Africa and the snails species that are needed for transmission of the disease.
http://www.wrc.org.za/Lists/Knowledge%20Hub%20Items/Attachments/4184/530%20abstract.pdf

Since you have tested positive for this parasite, treatment would seem to be a reasonable approach to your symptoms.

If you have not been evaluated by a specialist in infectious and tropical diseases, you may want to ask your GP to refer you to one.