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Schistosomiasis is a complex of several acute and/or chronic infections cause by the flatworm Schistosoma spp. (S. haematobium, S. guineensis, S. intercalatum, S. mansoni, S. japonicum, and S. mekongi).1 It has a low mortality rate but causes significant chronic illness and may lead to growth delay and cognitive impairment in children.
Worldwide 200 million (or 1 in 30 individuals) are estimated to have schistosoma infection.2 Schistosomes are widespread in tropical and subtropical areas (see map).
Over the period 2005 - 2010, the rates of positive Schistosoma serology in new refugee arrivals to Australia varied from 5-40%,4-7 with positive serology more common in people from African source countries.4
Most Schistosoma spp. infection are asymptomatic.
All recent immigrants from endemic areas (see also from ASID guidelines) should be screened for schistosomiasis infection by history, examination and investigation.
Note: Katayama fever - treatment is mainly supportive and may include glucocorticoids (+/- praziquantel or antimalarials). The patient should be retreated with praziquantel 2-3 months later to eliminate any remaining worms. Seek specialist advice.
Immigrant health clinic resources. Author: Vanessa Clifford and Georgie Paxton. Last updated June 2020. Contact email@example.com