Case of the Day: Schistosomiasis

In our Surgery Ward, you can never really say that it will always be boring with the pre and post op routine work. Because just before this holy week, here comes our patient that just recently been diagnosed with —- Schistosomiasis.

Yes apparently this is not a surgery case but he’s already in the ward so the nurses just need to proceed with the nursing care.

I immediately searched from my mobile phone, in a blog posted by a foreign Medical Technologist Robert Herriman, he said that it is the third cause of morbidity next to Malaria and Tuberculosis in the Philippines. He further said that Schistosomiasis is an acute or chronic disease produced by parasites called Schistosoma that are found in fresh water. Commonly endemic in the provinces of the Philippines where the usual occupation of the people are rice farming and fresh water fishing. The life cycle of this parasite is a bit complex and much explained further in the blog.

The parasites’ egg travel through the fresh water contaminated by human excreta (from human urine and feces) and lodges in a specific specie of a snail, breeds and then waits and finally release this infective stage called cercariae in to the open water. That’s where these farmers and fishermen usually harbor the disease which was also described as not just a single disease but a disease complex.

And because we are a developing country, it will take more years for this to be totally eradicated compared to other Asian countries where there has been high success rate of controlling this disease. The Department of Health (DOH) control program is publicized on their website please click here.

Most of the information I found on the internet says this disease is found mostly on the 27 provinces of our country. Hmm.. Is my patient an isolated case in Metro Manila? Where could he have gotten this? From the province? Or could this mean that the disease have traveled all the way down here in Manila? They say it travels and breeds in fresh water but who knows if they can survive the waters of Metro Manila now?


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