What are the major forms of schistosomiasis (bilharzia)?

Updated: Jun 11, 2020
  • Author: Shadab Hussain Ahmed, MD, AAHIVS, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Two major forms of schistosomiasis exist: intestinal and urogenital. These are caused by 5 main species, listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Parasitic Species and Geographical Distribution of Schistosomiasis [1, 10] (Open Table in a new window)


Geographical distribution

Intestinal schistosomiasis

Schistosoma mansoni

(mesenteric venules of the colon)

Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America

Schistosoma japonicum

(mesenteric venules of the small intestine)

Asia only: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand

Schistosoma mekongi

(mesenteric venules of the small intestine)

Several districts of Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 200-km area of Mekong river basin; now extending toward northern provinces

Schistosoma intercalatum

(mesenteric venules of the colon) and related S guineensis

Rain forest areas of Central and West Africa

Urogenital schistosomiasis

Schistosoma haematobium

(vesical venous plexus)

Africa, the Middle East, India, and Turkey

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