Bilharzia is a severe disease caused by parasites. Also known as schistosomiasis or snail fever, this disease is technically caused by parasitic flatworms, but freshwater snails release these parasites. Common to areas of South America, Asia, and Africa, bilharzia affects millions of people worldwide. Children who play in contaminated water and fishers are at particularly high risk for contracting bilharzia. Some medications can treat these conditions. Without the medication, the condition can worsen to include life-threatening conditions like bladder cancer and liver failure. To learn more about this tropical disease, read on.
1. How is Bilharzia Contracted?
When parasites are passed from certain freshwater snails, they can live in the water without a human host for about two days or 48 hours. If an adult or child comes into contact with this unclean water, they can contract the parasites, which will enter their blood vessels. As the work matures, it produces eggs that the human will release in their own urine and feces. Even simply walking through water that is contaminated by these parasites can lead to the contracted illness. Of course, fishing, swimming, and bathing in contaminated water also pose a substantial risk. The main problem is that these worms can literally penetrate the human skin to enter the bloodstream.