Schistosoma haematobium: the blood sucking parasite

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Last week was another wonderful experience in the field of diagnostic medicine. Well, over the last one year now, I have not seen or experience this scenario.

A child who should be around six years of age came to the hospital with a symptoms of stomach ache and serious fever.
After seeing the doctor, it happens to be that there is need for diagnosis which the doctor wrote down in the lab form.

In the diagnosis was malaria, enteric fever, urine mcs and others.
I brought out urine container with another anticoagulated bottle which is meant for blood sample collection.

In the presentation of the sample by the patient, I discovered a change of colour in the urine sample. During the course of the urinalysis I discovered the presence of blood in the urine.

Though I couldn't actually figure out what the problem could be until I did the urine microscopy only for me to see a lot of schistosoma haematobium in the urine.

I know some persons may not understand what am saying, but In today's article I will be detailing down on what schistosoma haematobium is all about and the damages it can cause In the body.

Definition

Schistosomiasis is an acute and chronic parasitic disease caused by blood flukes (trematode worms) of the genus Schistosoma

This parasite is found mostly in Africa and middle east. And is the only blood flukes that infects the urinary tract and one of the major causes of bladder cancer.

The eggs travels down the wall of the urine bladder where it is being deposited and cause haematuria and bladder fibrosis.

Haematuria is simply the presence of blood in the urine. This happens when the eggs of schistosomes are being deposited in the bladder causing calcification of the bladder.

The calcification of bladder now leads to the presence of blood in the urine due to the ulceration of the muscularis propria.

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Coming back to what I said earlier in my story, you can see why the childs urine is bloody, this is due to the presence of schistosoma haematobium eggs stored in the walls of the bladder.

This egg can cause a lot of damages in the bladder by resulting to the bleeding of underlying layer of the bladder that mixes up with the urine to for bloody urine.

At this point, let us quickly explain how we can get infected by this dangerous parasite.

The life cycle of schistosoma haematobium

Human is the definitive host of schistosoma haematobium where it completes its life cycle. While fresh water snail is its intermediate host.
This parasite eggs are found in stagnant water where the eggs take up to 15 minutes to harsh into larva called miracidia. The miracidia contains cilia that helps for it's movement where it searches for snail which is the intermediate host.

The search for snail is to enable it not to die due to lack of energy. Inside the snail they develop into cercariae which penetrate back the snail liver and finds it's way into the water in search of human host.

This parasite can only be found in a stagnant water that is contaminated. In the water it searches for human host where it attaches itself to the skin of human by secreting proteolytic enzymes.
This enzymes helps to widen the skin pores for easy and faster penetration.

In getting to the skin, the tails goes off while only the head penetrates the body and go straight to the blood vessels where they are known to be called schisotomulae.

Some are being transported into the heart and liver through the systemic system. From the liver they enter into the portal vein where it is being circulated to the whole parts of the body.

Diagnosis

Like I said earlier, schistosoma haematobium can be diagnose by doing urine microscopy.
Urine microscopy helps to detect the egg of the parasite using microscope.
This test is done by spinning the sample of the patient for five minutes.

After the spinning, the urine sample is being decanted into a bowel leaving only the sediment under the test tube.

The sediment is then poured inside the slide and viewed with 10x objective lens.

Another way which we can diagnose schistosoma haematobium is by the use of intradermal injection. This injection on detecting the parasite forms a wheal.
Another way of detecting schistosoma haematobium is by complement fixation method.

how we can prevent schistosoma haematobium

Schistosoma haematobium is known to be found in dirty water where waste are being dumped. To avoid this parasite we should abstain ourselves from dirty or contaminated water.

Also, the water we drink or use in bathing should be boiled in other to avoid getting this parasitic infection.

Conclusion

Schistosoma haematobium is a parasite that is very dangerous to human being. This parasite needs to be avoided in other not to get infected.

Today, most children don't know anything about how this parasite infects and how it can cause problem to human health.
Also adults who gets this disease could be as a result of taking contaminated water or food.

To avoid this parasite, we must learn how to maintain a good hygiene and avoid contaminated water.

References
schistosoma haematobium
infection and transmission
schistosomiasis
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I am keen to telling people around me to keep their environment clean. A lot of people do not understand the importance of it or have an idea of they could be infected with when staying in dirty environment with stagnant water. Asides Schistosoma, others like Salmonella and Camphylobacter are always waiting in water for humans. I was in an area some time back when I saw people living in canals neighbored by stagnant water, I started to ask myself how this people survive to the age of thirty?

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