This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic worms. Although the worms that cause schistosomiasis are not found in the United States, more than 200 million people are infected worldwide. Infection occurs through contact with contaminated water. The parasite in its infective stages is called a cercaria. It swims freely in open bodies of water. On contact with humans, the parasite burrows into the skin, matures into another stage (schistosomula), then migrates to the lungs and liver, where it matures into the adult form. The adult worm then migrates to its preferred body part (bladder, rectum, intestines, liver, portal venous system (the veins that carry blood from the intestines to liver, spleen, lungs), depending on its species. Schistosomiasis is common in many tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. It can be treated safely and effectively with praziquantel.
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