Acute schistosomiasis outbreak in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais: alert about the risk of unnoticed transmission increased by growing rural tourism


Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz




The present article describes the occurrence of 17 cases of acute schistosomiasis in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. All individuals affected took a bath in a swimming pool of a holiday resort that was provided with water from a nearby brook. The apparently clean water and the absence of snails in the pool gave the wrong impression that there was no risk for infection. During a malacological survey at the site snails of the species Biomphalaria glabrata were found and tested positive for Schistosoma mansoni. All the patients live in the middle-class area of Barreiro, metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte and have medium grade school education. The difficulties in establishing the right diagnosis is expressed by the search for medical attention in 17 different medical facilities, the wide range of laboratory test and the inadequate treatment administration. A lack of knowledge about the disease was found in all groups studied. The booming rural tourism in endemic areas is identified as a probable risk factor for infection, especially for individuals of the non-immune middle and upper class parts of the society in urban centers. Special attention is given to a multidisciplinary approach to the complex issue of disease control and prevention.

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