Schistosomiasis is a type of parasitic worm infection that is carried by freshwater snails. The disease causes an estimated 200,000 deaths a year. There are two main types of schistosomiasis: urogenital and intestinal.
Adult worms grow to approximately 1cm in length and live in blood vessels, laying eggs which cause disease. The disease is transmitted through contact with contaminated water during everyday activities like bathing and fishing.
The life cycle below shows the way transmission is sustained.
Global poverty distribution
Schistosomiasis affects over 200 million people worldwide but the highest areas at risk of infection can be found in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease often traps people in poverty – the poverty map below shows a clear correlation between poverty distribution and areas with the infection.
Areas at risk of infection
Treatment is safe and effective.
However, only 63% of school-age children needing treatment globally were treated in 2016.
41 million still need treatment.
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