Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by a parasite (worm) that is not found in the United States but is found elsewhere worldwide. Humans get infected when their skin comes into contact with freshwater contaminated with the parasite, which lives in certain types of freshwater snails. The freshwater is contaminated when infected people urinate or defecate in the water. Areas of the world affected by schistosomiasis include parts of Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southern China, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Laos, and Corsica, most commonly in places with poor sanitation (see areas where human schistosomiasis is found).
Symptoms of schistosomiasis include rash or itchy skin initially, but then within 1-2 months of infection, fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches can develop as the parasites and their eggs affect different organs and tissues.
Schistosomiasis is not listed separately on the list of reportable diseases but falls under the category of an Unusual Disease for reporting. To report a case, health care providers/facilities should call OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180 or fax records to 714-560-4050.
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