What is Bilharzia (schistosomiasis)?
Bilharzia (also known as schistosomiasis or snail fever) affects people in 51 endemic countries across Asia, Africa and parts of South America.
Bilharzia is an illness that develops when people come into contact with water contaminated by certain snails that carry disease-causing parasites. These parasites can penetrate through a person’s skin and move through the body.
Infection primarily affects the urinary or intestinal system, causing chronic ill health and, in some cases, death. Lack of access to safe water and hygiene facilities, and water-based activities (such as swimming and fishing) make school-age children the most vulnerable, with infection responsible for malnutrition, absenteeism and possible impaired intellectual development.
Children and adults suffering from persistent and severe bilharzia infections are also likely to have chronic and irreversible diseases later in life, such as scarring (fibrosis) of the liver, bladder cancer or kidney failure.
In women, bilharzia can lead to female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) which can cause complications in pregnancy, infertility, and triple the risk of contracting HIV.
people require treatment for bilharzia
95% of school-aged children
that require preventive treatment live in Africa
require preventive treatment for bilharzia
Global Schistosomiasis Alliance
The Global Schistosomiasis Alliance (GSA) is an all-inclusive coalition to mobilise the growing momentum to control and eliminate schistosomiasis.
Unlimit Health (previously known as SCI Foundation) is an international organisation working to end parasitic disease.