Health officials in the northern Liberia county of Gbarpolu are reporting hundreds of cases of the parasitic disease, schistosomiasis, or snail fever, since September, according to a African media source.

Liberia map/CIA
Liberia map/CIA

County Health Officer (CHO), Dr. Anthony Tucker, said, “We went on an outreach in that area and we were able to diagnosed 327 schistosomiasis cases and immediately administered a single dose of Praziquantel tablet to reduce the severity of the symptom.”

According to locals, the lack of basic sanitation facilities and save drinking water is making the disease to thrive in the region. Others say the lacks of regular awareness about some preventable diseases is a major cause of the snail fever and other diseases in the area.

County Surveillance Officer (CSO) of Gbarpolu, Augustus Alfred said, “We are currently doing health education campaign about the risks of getting infected by bathing and fishing in fresh running water as well as stagnant water.”

What is schistosomiasis?

Schistosomiasis is an acute or chronic disease; it is not a single disease, but a disease complex initiated by several different species of schistosomes. The three most important human species are Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium and S. japonicum.