Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by trematode bloodflukes of the genus Schistosoma and is recognized as second parasitic disease with major impact in public health.
Larval forms (cercariae) of the parasites released by freshwater snails penetrate the human skin in infested water bodies.
After transmission, the larvae develop into adult worms residing in the blood vessels.
The female worms release eggs, some of which are passed out of the body with the urine or faeces while others are trapped in body tissues, causing an immune reaction and formation of granuloma.
Schistosomiais is prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas, especially in poor communities without access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
It is estimated that at least 90% of those requiring treatment for schistosomiasis live in sub-Saharan Africa.