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Definition of SCHISTOSOMIASIS
: infestation with or disease caused by schistosomes; specifically: a severe endemic disease of humans in Africa and parts of Asia and South America that is contracted when cercariae released into freshwaters (as rivers) by a snail intermediate host penetrate the skin and that is marked especially by blood loss and tissue damage —called also snail fever
: infestation with or disease caused by schistosomes; specifically: a severe endemic disease of humans in much of Africa and parts of Asia and South America that is caused by any of three trematode worms of the genus Schistosoma (S. haematobium, S. mansoni, and S. japonicum) which multiply in snail intermediate hosts and are disseminated into freshwaters as furcocercous cercariae that bore into the body when it is in contact with infested water, migrate through the tissues to the visceral venous plexuses (as of the bladder or intestine) where they attain maturity, and cause much of their injury through hemorrhage and damage to tissues resulting from the passage of the usually spiny eggs to the intestine and bladder whence they pass out to start a new cycle of infection in snail hosts—called also bilharzia, bilharziasis, snail fever; compare swimmer's itch
Group of chronic disorders caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma (blood flukes). Depending on the infecting species, thousands of eggs released by the females reach either the intestine or the bladder, are excreted in feces or urine, and hatch on contact with fresh water. The larvae invade snails, develop to the next stage, emerge into the water, and invade mammals to feed and breed in the bloodstream. An initial allergic reaction (inflammation, cough, late-afternoon fever, hives, liver tenderness) and blood in the stools and urine give way to a chronic stage, in which eggs impacted in the walls of organs cause fibrous thickening (fibrosis). This condition can lead to serious liver damage in the intestinal types and to bladder stones, fibrosis of other pelvic organs, and urinary-tract bacterial infection. In most cases, early diagnosis and persistent treatment to kill the adult worms ensure recovery.