Rural tourism: a risk factor for schistosomiasis transmission in Brazil


Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz




This paper reports an outbreak of acute schistosomiasis among 38 tourists who rented a country house in the district of Igarapé, the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during a holiday period in 2006. A total number of 32 individuals were positive for Schistosoma mansoni. Results of stool examinations revealed individual S. mansoni egg counts per gram of faeces (epg) ranging from 4-768 epg with a geometric mean egg count of 45. The most frequent clinical symptoms were abdominal pain (78.1%), headache (75%), fever (65.6%), dry cough (65.2%) and both diarrhoea and asthenia (59.4%). A malacological survey of the area, where 22 specimens of Biomphalaria glabrata were collected, revealed three (13.6%) specimens eliminating Schistosoma cercariae. This investigation re-confirms a recently described pattern of schistosomiasis infection, resulting in the acute form of the disease and connected to rural tourism, which contributes to the spread of the disease among the middle-class and into non-endemic areas. The lack of specific knowledge about acute schistosomiasis among health services causes an increased number of unnecessary diagnostic procedures and delays in accurate diagnosis and treatment, resulting in considerable discomfort for the patients.

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