Schistosomiasis among travelers: new aspects of an old disease

Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Nov;12(11):1696-700. doi: 10.3201/eid1211.060340.


Schistosomiasis is increasingly encountered among travelers returning from the tropics; signs and symptoms of travelers may differ from those of local populations. During 1993-2005, schistosomiasis was diagnosed in 137 Israeli travelers, most of whom were infected while in sub-Saharan Africa. Clinical findings compatible with acute schistosomiasis were recorded for 75 (66.4%) patients and included fever (71.3%), respiratory symptoms (42.9%), and cutaneous symptoms (45.2%). At time of physical examination, 42 patients (37.1%) still had symptoms of acute schistosomiasis, chronic schistosomiasis had developed in 23 (20.4%), and 48 (42.5%) were asymptomatic. Of patients who were initially asymptomatic, chronic schistosomiasis developed in 26%. Diagnosis was confirmed by serologic testing for 87.6% of patients, but schistosome ova were found in only 25.6%. We conclude that acute schistosomiasis is a major clinical problem among travelers, diagnostic and therapeutic options for acute schistosomiasis are limited, and asymptomatic travelers returning from schistosomiasis-endemic areas should be screened and treated.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Praziquantel / therapeutic use
  • Schistosomiasis / drug therapy
  • Schistosomiasis / epidemiology*
  • Travel*


  • Praziquantel