Posted by: Purple | 2011/03/17



During January this year, my father took my son fishing and then came back and said I should please just check with our doctor as when they crossed the dam, there were bilharzia snails in the stagnant water.

None of us can remember at what point in the life cycle / host cycle one is at risk of contracting bilharzia.

I''ve done a google search and even read up in old encyclopeadias and just can''t find anything on at what point humans are in danger of them choosing us as a host.

I don''t want to frighten my child by taking him to the doctor and asking, but I obviously want to get him tested and get him treatment if he is at risk for contracting bilharzia.
I know its a few years before symptoms would start (tiredness, blood in the urine etc). My dad has had bilharzia before, so he''s understandably worried about my son getting it (I would have though not walking through stagnant water in an area known for Bilharzia might have been a first step, but there you go).

When I say stagnant water, it was on the edge of the dam (which is a small dam without a fast flowing river coming in) and it was the pooled water over a little concrete bridge thing - not flowing water, but not stagnant like a pond in a field.

This was in a far northern kwazulu natal coastal area.

I''d actually forgotten about it until I watched a gross show on Discovery channel last night about people who have picked up odd parasites. I know bilharzia is very commonly occuring in this country, but it still reminded me and got me worried again.

Expert's Reply



It all depends on whether the snails in the dam carry the bilharzia parasites and also on whether your son was in direct contact with the water and in particular whether his legs came into contact with the water and for how long.Usually the illness is only diagnosed after symptoms start such as fever, tiredness, a rash on the lower legs and headache. The diagnosis is made by finding the eggs of the parasite in urine and stool samples.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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