What are the symptoms of schistosomiasis (bilharzia)?

Updated: Sep 20, 2018
  • Author: Shadab Hussain Ahmed, MD, AAHIVS, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Mild, maculopapular skin lesions may develop in acute infection within hours after exposure to cercariae. Significant dermatitis is rare with the major human schistosomal pathogens, probably because the invading and developing cercariae are minimally immunogenic. However, abortive human infection with schistosomal species that rely on other primary hosts may cause marked dermatitis or swimmer's itch. This self-limited process may recur more intensely with subsequent exposures to the same species.


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