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Martha Betson session
Martha does field work related to Schistosomiasis in Uganda
Importance of Schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis is classed as a neglected tropical disease that affects millions. It is a common disease in the developing world and a disease of poverty (predominantly occuring in poor countries due to the lack of access to clean water).
Young children affected with Schistosomiasis suffer from chronic long-term morbidity leading to impaired development and learning.
Brief overview of Schistosomiasis
The schistosoma parasites have two main hosts; the definitive human host and the intermediate freshwater snail host as seen below.
The cercariae released by the snails causes infection by direct penetration of skin. The schistosomulae are then carried to the liver in the bloodstream and reside in the heapatic blood vessels where they mature and mate. Paired adult worms migrate to blood vessels in the intestines and bladder. The eggs layed by these worms can be detected in the urine and stools of an infected person. Eggs released into freshwater systems then hatch and infect snais.
Infection can occur through either passive or active exposure to freshwater systems containing cercariae.
Infection occurs when the cercariae penetrates the skin and enters the circulation. Drinking water leads to infection when the cercariae penetrate cheek/esophageal tissue
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