Bilharzia disease is a malady where trematode flatworms infest the human body. This is a parasitic disease. Flatworms in larval form enter your body through the skin and inhabit the blood vessels where they develop into adults. The female adult flatworms in turn release eggs which get trapped all through the tissues in the body. These worms normally infest the snails found in freshwater in tropical regions. It is important that people who suffer from bilharzia disease get treated as it could cause fatal organ damage.
Bilharzia symptoms include an itch and rash at the point where the flatworms enter. For example, if the digestive tracts and stomach are invaded the bilharzias symptoms would be pain in the abdomen and diarrhea that is bloody. On the other hand if your kidneys or urinary tract is affected then the bilharzia symptoms would be pain while urinating, blood in the urine, and frequent urination. If the infestation or invasion is heavy then the symptoms of bilharzia disease will include fevers, enlarged lymph nodes, and enlarged spleen and liver.
There are many complications from bilharzias. These include certain immune reactions in the body. In addition you could end up with a damaged liver, spleen, and kidney. This happens when the larvae migrates to these areas. In some cases there could be problems with the abdominal blood vessels as well. Bilharzia sometimes causes damage and enlargement of organs, seizures, heart failure, and chronic kidney failure.
It is important that you approach your doctor when you feel you may have bilharzias. He or she will be the best person to guide you, and will do a number of tests to find out if you do have bilharzia. Your doctor may suggest that you go in for tests that check if you have low red blood cell count or anemia. He or she may also recommend that you get checked for antibodies. In addition, high eosinophil and low platelets tests may be done. You may also have to go in for a tissue biopsy to check if there is some infection. A stool and urine test will help look out for schistosome eggs.
Depending on what your test results are, your doctor will design an appropriate course of treatment for you. Prevention is however better than cure, and if you plan on traveling to areas where this parasite is found, it is important that you take adequate protection. Make sure you drink water that is boiled or bottled and heat bathing water to at least 150 °F for a minimum of five minutes.More articles from the Medical Tests Category