Schistosomiasis: watch the water

Recent cases make it timely to revisit this classic travellers’ disease

Most cases of schistosomiasis in travellers are acquired through contact with fresh water.


Recent discussions with two GP colleagues have made me wonder if schistosomiasis is more common than we realise.

One had a patient with infection confirmed by serology who reported only travelling to Bali, not generally considered an area of risk.

Even more inexplicably, another GP had a case in a patient who had never left Australia.

Schistosomiasis (or bilharzia) is a parasitic disease caused by a blood-dwelling fluke worm of the genus