Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Blood Flukes Underlying Cause

Schistosomiasis is caused by the Schistosoma parasite.

The life cycle of the parasite includes:

  • The young parasite lives in fresh water snails.
  • The parasite enters the skin of an animal or human.
  • The young adults are transported through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs.
  • The parasite matures to become an adult worm in the bloodstream.
  • The adult female produces eggs, which are released in the urine and stool.
  • The eggs enter a snail, and the life cycle starts over again.

Symptoms of schistosomiasis are caused by the eggs.

The five types of Schistosoma parasites that infect humans include:
  • Schistosoma hematobium
  • Schistosoma intercalatum
  • Schistosoma japonicum
  • Schistosoma mansoni
  • Schistosoma mekongi

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Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Blood Flukes References
  1. Bichler KH, Feil G, Zumbragel A, Eipper E, Dyballa S. Schistosomiasis: a critical review. Curr Opin Urol. 2001 Jan;11(1):97-101. [11148754]
  2. Davis-Reed L, Theis JH. Cutaneous schistosomiasis: report of a case and review of the literature. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Apr;42(4):678-80. [10727319]
  3. Magnussen P. Treatment and re-treatment strategies for schistosomiasis control in different epidemiological settings: a review of 10 years' experiences. Acta Trop. 2003 May;86(2-3):243-54. [12745141]
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