Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia (bill-HAR-zi-a), is a disease caused by parasitic worms. Infection with Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium, and S. japonicum causes illness in humans. Although schistosomiasis is not found in the United States, more than 200 million people are infected worldwide.
NIAID-supported researchers are studying many aspects of schistosomiasis to find new ways to prevent and treat the disease. Because the parasitic worm that causes schistosomiasis has a complex lifecycle, researchers can study the disease and its debilitating effects during various stages: the waterborne egg stage, the intermediate snail host, or the parasite’s adult phase, which takes place in humans.
With the recently sequenced genomes of multiple species of the parasites, researchers are equipped to move forward in developing valuable vaccines and treatments for schistosomiasis.
Last Updated August 08, 2012
Last Reviewed July 27, 2010