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Schistosomiasis In Brazil Essay

1244 words - 5 pages

Parasites are a detrimental issue in society and are the cause of increasing numbers of deaths worldwide on an annual basis. Parasitism is a non-mutual relationship between different species, whereby one specie, the parasite (organism), benefits at the expense of the other, the host body (Encycolpaedia Britannica, 2014). Intestinal Schistosomiasis is a trematode (fluke) infection caused by parasites in the species of the genus Schistosoma and is considered second to malaria as the most catastrophic parasitic disease in tropical countries (CDC, 2012). Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease, and its global health impacts are grossly underestimated. With an estimate of 200,000 deaths ...view middle of the document...

Free swimming cercariae are then released that can survive in fresh water (5) for up to 48 hours, of which must attach to the skin of a susceptible mammal host (human) or perish (Tidy, 2013). The cercariae then attach to the humans and migrate through the skin. Subsequently, within the next few days, they reach the pulmonary vessels, at which time during the migration they metamorphose (6) and become highly resistant to host immune responses due to their histocompatibility characteristics and their blood group antigen type that avoids rejection by the host. (Wright, 2013). The worms then migrate (7) bypassing the pulmonary capillaries into the systemic circulation and portal veins where they mature (contain both male and female sexual adult forms). Within the portal vessels they mate, migrating along the endothelium into veins surrounding the intestines or the bladder, where they rapidly produce their highly antigenic eggs that induce an intense granulomatous response being the primary cause of morbidity (Tidy, 2013).
Schistosomiasis, often asymptomatic, is a pathogenic parasite that may have an acute, meaning short term influences, or a chronic effect referring to persistent and ongoing impacts. Additionally, people may develop a rash or itchy skin, known as ‘swimmers itch’, caused by accidental skin contact from the cercariae inducing an inflammatory immune response (Horizonte & Gerais, 2014). Also referred to as Katayama fever, acute schistosomiasis symptoms advance several weeks after interaction with contaminated water (refer to diagram 1, steps 5 to 7). Symptoms of chronic schistosomiasis erupt through tissue migration of schistosomal larvae to inflict a hypersensitivity reaction causing fever, headaches, tiredness, Joint and muscle pains, abdominal pains, cough and Bloody diarrhoea (World Health Organsization, 2014). However, the majority of the infected population don’t develop acute phases, although some symptoms may be mild or go unrecognised, most victims suffer chronic schistosomiasis. Chronic phases are resulted from egg-induced immune responses (7), granuloma formation and associated fibrotic changes as seen in diagram 2. As the schistosomal eggs are highly immunogenic, they induce vigorous circulating and local immune responses causing long term detrimental symptoms such as intestinal inflammation, breathlessness, cough, liver failure, paralysis, palpitations and confusion (USAID, 2013).
Safe and effective medication is available for treatment of all parasite related infections. Concerning schistosomiasis, Praziquantel, a prescription medicine, is used for treatment and is consumed once or twice (one dose) within 48 hours annually (NPS RADAR, 2009). Praziquantel’s mode of action is through increasing the membrane permeability of the schistosome cells towards calcium ions. Consequently, the drug induces contraction of the parasites, resulting in paralysis. The dying parasites are then dislodged or destroyed by the host’s immune...

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