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JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Outbreak of schistosomiasis in a group a travellers returning from Burkina Faso]

R Elcuaz, M Armas, M Ramírez, F J Noguera, M Bolaños, I Quiñones, B Lafarga
Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica 1998, 16 (8): 367-9
9835152

BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis in Spain is always an imported disease mainly presented in travellers from endemic areas with a history of having bathed in fresh water and in immigrants from these areas. A group of travellers presenting infection by schistosomes following an 8-day journey to Burkina Faso.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The travellers, residents of Gran Canaria (Spain), who had bathed in fresh water were studied by schistosomiasis serology and parasitologic examination in stools and urine.

RESULTS: A total of 29 travellers were studied, 20 (69%) of whom were considered to be infected, on presenting positive serology and/or coproparasitologic examination. Fourteen of the infected patients presented clinical symptomatology compatible with the Katayama syndrome, while 6 were asymptomatic. The mean time to appearance of the symptoms was 27 days and these were most frequently fever, headache, neck pain, diarrhea and arthromyalgia together with eosinophilia achieving a mean value of 3,513 eosinophils/microliter. All the infected travellers presented positive serology and in 5 eggs of a Schistosoma mansoni were observed in stools. All the infected patients were treated with praziquantel.

CONCLUSIONS: Limited exposure by bathing in fresh water in this group of travellers led to a high rate of infection. The diagnosis of schistosomiasis should be considered in any traveller from an endemic area with a history of having bathed in fresh water. In the case of an outbreak, investigation of all the travellers who had bathed is recommendable given that the infection may be asymptomatic.

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