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Zoonotic schistosomosis (schistosomiasis) 

Zoonotic schistosomosis (schistosomiasis)
Zoonotic schistosomosis (schistosomiasis)

Hélène Carabin

, Maria V. Johansen

, Jennifer F. Friedman

, Stephen T. McGarvey

, Henry Madsen

, Zhou Xiao-Nong

, and Steven Riley

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date: 25 June 2022

Asiatic schistosomiosis is a very old disease with Schistosoma japonicum eggs found in human remains > 2000 years old from Hunan and Hubei provinces in China (Mao and Shao 1982). The original description of Asiatic schistosomiosis was made by Fujii in 1847 (Sasa 1972). The life cycle was fi rst described by Kawanashi (1904) who noted trematode-like eggs in cat faeces. The same year, Katsurada recovered adult worms from a cat from Katayama, Japan (Okabe 1964). Fujinami and Nakamura (1909) first reported skin infection with S. japonicum cercariae of different mammals, and Miyairi and Suzuki (1914) discovered that Oncomelania hupensis served as intermediate host where miracidia developed into sporocysts and further into cercariae (Jordan 2000). The snail hosts of S. japonicum were discovered in China by Faust and Meleney (1923), The Philippines by Tubangui (1932) and in Indonesia by Carvey et al. (1973). In addition to the skin as the principal route of infection, Suda (1924) described oral infection and several authors described the intrauterine route of infection. (Okabe 1964; Sasa 1972).

Following the understanding of the lifecyle, control measures including wearing closely woven clothing, composting of faeces with urine for at least 14 days, replacing cattle with horses, killing of rodents especially rats, killing of snails by lime, copper sulphate or salt water, were proven to have some efficacy. In Japan, an effective integrated control programme started after Second World War with the last human case being reported in 1978 (Jordan 2000 ). The National Schistosomiosis Control Programme in China started in 1955 and at that time more than 10 million people were infected with S. japonicum (Wu 2002). Emetine and antimony potassium tartrate were among the first drugs with proven efficacy against schistosomiosis in humans. Later antimony and finally praziquantel and artemether have been introduced as highly effective drugs with only minor adverse effects (Wu 2002).

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