What history is needed to diagnose suspected chronic 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

Patients with symptomatic chronic schistosomiasis may present months to years after primary exposure. A complete lifelong travel history is often essential for diagnosis. Many patients do not have a clear history of acute schistosomiasis and many individuals have few or mild symptoms. Individuals with symptoms may present with nonspecific complaints reflecting their level of infection, the immune response to the eggs, the primary location of egg production for the schistosomal species involved (eg, mesenteric, bladder wall), the extent of hepatosplenic involvement, the extent of cardiopulmonary involvement, and the presence of ectopic sites (eg, CNS). Typically, disease onset is insidious.


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