Schistosomiasis in childhood.Eur J Pediatr. 1988 Jan; 147(1):2-9.EJ
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease of the tropics which is estimated to affect up to 300 million people worldwide. In endemic areas the childhood age group has the highest prevalence and intensity of infection. There are several distinct species of schistosomes. The principal organ system involved in Schistosoma haematobium infection is the urinary tract since parasite eggs penetrate the bladder and are excreted in the urine. Hematuria, proteinuria, leukocyturia and symptoms like dysuria or nocturia are the most common clinical presentations. Heavily infected patients show obstructive uropathy of different severity which may lead to renal failure. Intestinal schistosomiasis is caused by Schistosoma mansoni infection. Initial symptoms can be diarrhea and blood-tinged stool. Chronic infection is characterized by fibrotic involvement of the liver and consecutive portal hypertension. The diagnosis of schistosomiasis depends on the demonstration of schistosome eggs in human excreta or biopsy material. Imported cases of schistosomiasis to Europe show an increasing tendency due to expanding international travel. Furthermore imported cases are usually not diagnosed until years after the patients have left an endemic area. The treatment of choice is a single dose of praziquantel 40 m/kg bodyweight resulting in cure rates of around 90% and considerable reversibility of pathological abnormalities due to schistosome infections.