Water

What are the Causes of Bilharzia?

Bilharzia is a disease in humans caused by a water borne parasite called

Schistosoma

. There are various causes of Bilharzia. Bilharzia disease is caused by contraction through contaminated water. The infective stage of the parasite is called

Cercaria. The disease is mainly acquired by children who play and swim in infected water.

The disease is prevalent in many tropical countries such as Africa, South America, the middle east, southern China and Carribbean. It affects nearly 200 million people. Some alternative names of Bilharzia are Bilharziosis, Snail fever, Swimmer’s itch, Blood fluke, Katayama fever. The early symptoms of Bilharzia are itchy skin and rashes. Chills, fatigue, weight loss, fever, liver and spleen enlargement, blood in urine are some of the symptoms of the disease after a week of infection.

Causes of Bilharzia

Bilharzia is caused due to the following reasons –

  • It is a parasitic disease caused by various species of fluke of the genus Schistosoma.
  • The disease is caused due to contaminated water.
  • The infective stage of the parasite is called

    Cercaria

    , which swims freely in water.

  • When the parasite comes in contact with humans, it invades the skin and matures into larval stage called

    Schistosomula

    .

  • This mature larval stage then migrates into liver and lungs.
  • This larval stage then develops into adult stage.
  • The adult form then migrates into liver, intestine, bladder, rectum and portal venous system.

Bilharzia disease has a low mortality rate. In children, it can cause serious damage to internal organs, less cognitive development and body growth. When urinary tract gets infected in adult, it can lead to bladder cancer.

Praziquantel

is the safest drug for treatment of Bilharzia. It should be taken on prescription of doctor.

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