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Volume 13, Number 10—October 2007
Etymologia

schistosomiasis

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[shis”-, skis” to-so-mi’ə-sis], from the Greek—skhistos (split) and soma (body)

Infection of the blood with a parasite of the genus Schistosoma. Originally thought a single organism with a split body, the parasite was eventually recognized as having male and female forms. Three main species cause human infection: S. haematobium, S. mansoni, and S. japonicum. Each species has its own range of host snails. The parasite releases eggs containing larvae through feces or urine; if the eggs reach water, the larvae are released and may penetrate a snail. A very large number of larvae are then produced inside the snail and released back into the water. Infection is acquired through skin contact with contaminated water.

Schistosomiasis, which leads to chronic hepatic and intestinal fibrosis of the urinary tract, was first identified in Egypt in 1851 by German pathologist Theodor Bilharz and is also called bilharzia. Approximately 160 million persons throughout the world are infected, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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DOI: 10.3201/eid1310.e11310

Source: Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp: www.itg.be

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Table of Contents – Volume 13, Number 10—October 2007

Page created: July 02, 2010
Page updated: July 02, 2010
Page reviewed: July 02, 2010
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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