Thursday, October 19, 2017

History of schistosomiasis

Bilharzia or schistosomiasis is more insidious that sleeping sickness, for it is a debilitating disease rather than a killer. It is named after Dr. Theodor Bilharz (1825-62) who is discovered the parasites Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium and their small snail hosts in 1851.

Schistosomes have infected man for of over four millennia, Papyrus of Kuhn hieroglyphics were believed to refer to hematurria, a clinical sign of urinary schistosomiasis and the Ebers Papyrus was said to give remedies for its cure.
Bilharzia originated in the waters of the Lake Plateau of East Africa and traveled down the Nile to infect the dynastic Egyptians and their pharaohs.

Schistosome eggs have certainly been found in Egyptian mummies from as early as 1200 BC.

The first avian schistosome life cycle was described by Oiso (1927) for Bilharziella yokogawai from domestic ducks. In the American scientific literature, Cort (1950) was the first to demonstrate that swimmer’s itch was caused by the cercarie of non-human schistomiasis in 1928.
History of schistosomiasis

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