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Schistosoma Spp ( Blood Fluke )

There are three primary species of blood flukes that cause disease. Schistosomiasis mansoni occurs in Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and South America; Schistosomiasis japonicum is found in Asia; and Schistosomiasis haematobium is found in Egypt. The disease caused by these blood flukes infect over 200 million people worldwide, in 71 countries. The widespread distribution and damage caused by this worm makes it the single most important worm infection in the world today. What keeps this blood fluke out of the continental United States is only the lack of a suitable snail host

When eggs are deposited in fresh water, the larvae hatch quickly and find a snail host particular to their species. After they invade the snail, this parasite is transformed over the next 1-2 months into thousands of forked-tail organisms. After leaving the snail, the infectious larvae swim about vigorously for a few days until they come into contact with human skin. Now they can attach themselves, discard their tails, and penetrate the skin.

After burrowing into the skin of humans, these flukes move through the bloodstream until the male attaches to the wall of a blood vessel by a sucker on his body. These tiny flatworms (1-2 centimeter long) typically stay in pairs of a male and a female. The male holds the longer and more slender female in a deep groove on his body for a life-long copulatory embrace. Each mating pair produces 300 to 3,000 eggs daily for the remainder of their 4-35 year life span. After mating, they use their suckers to move through the bloodstream eventually reaching their site of attack. Some attack the lining of the intestine or liver, others attack the bladder, urinary tract, or other pelvic organs. This parasite is increasing, especially in the rural tropics where there are irrigation farmers.

There is usually a self-limiting, but very itchy skin rash immediately after the parasite penetrates human skin. As the worms migrate to the liver, the rash disappears and the infected person experiences fever, headache, and abdominal pain for 1-2 weeks. One to two months after the first exposure, people with severe infections develop a fever and symptoms that looks very similar to serum sickness. Other symptoms could include a cough, arthritis-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands, and diarrhea.

The severity of the illness correlates with the amount of worms invading the body. The signs and symptoms vary with infecting species, but complications of chronic disease can be most serious.

There could be a thickening of the intestinal or bladder wall, blood in the urine, incontinence, dysentery, and hypertension. Adults could also have blood clots.

The blood fluke produces an enzyme that destroys the protein in blood. They consume certain amino acids, especially arginine, from the host's blood, causing a protein imbalance. Overall, a person infected with blood flukes feels toxic. Where this worm deposits its eggs, hemorrhage of the intestines, urinary bladder, or lung can occur, as well as considerable trauma to these tissues, such as the formation of abscesses. The body's immune defenses will be activated to destroy this parasite, but by doing so it also causes tissue proliferation and repair that can lead to cancer. This is the theory that Dr. Hulda Clark, Ph.D., N.D., discusses in her book, The Cure For All Cancers.

To be sure of a diagnosis, a laboratory looks for eggs in the urine and stool. Sometimes, a biopsy needs to be performed. All varieties can cause elevated eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) on blood tests. A sigmoidoscopic examination reveals an inflamed colon and signs of hemorrhages. Because dead eggs may persist in the tissues for a long time after the death of the adult worms, active infection is confirmed only if the eggs are alive. There may be available skin and blood tests to detect the presence of an active infection.

It is expensive and difficult to control this deadly disease. More modern construction of sanitation and water purification facilities would break this cycle of transmission. There needs to be health education to keep infected urine and feces out of the water supplies. Often antihistamines and corticosteroids may be helpful in stopping the more severe manifestations. The drug praziquantel is effective against all three species of schistosomes; metrifonate and oxamniquine may be useful for some species. Many of the drugs effective to kill this parasite are also very toxic to humans and the environment.

     
     

Flukes

Clonorchis Sinensis ( Liver Fluke )

Fasciolopsis Buski ( Intestinal Fluke )

Nanophyetus Spp. ( Fish-flu Fluke )

Paragonimus Westermani ( Lung Fluke )

Schistosoma Spp ( Blood Fluke )

 

 

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