The Schistosomiasis, or Bilharzia outbreak that was first reported on April 7 and ultimately affected some 150 schoolchildren in Chirundu district has been resolved, according to Zambia Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo.
Masebo said the outbreak was managed by treating those with symptoms (blood in urine) and giving those without, prevention treatment. The persons affected are in the age range 7 to 15 years.
“Allow me to remind our children to avoid swimming or treading in waters that may be infested with parasites that cause Bilharzia. Remember that people are infected during routine agricultural, domestic, occupational, and recreational activities, which expose them to infested water as the parasite which is commonly hosted in certain types of snails enters one’s body through the skin”, she said.
Schistosomiasis is an acute and chronic disease caused by trematode parasites, which health authorities say more than 200 million people are infected worldwide and in terms of impact, this disease is second only to malaria as the most devastating parasitic disease.