Schistosomiasis is a disease that results from schistosome infestation. Schistosomes are trematode worms and are parasites that inhabit the urinary or mesenteric blood vessels of their definitive hosts. The signs and symptoms include poor growth, bloody stool or urine, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The possible complications of the disease include infertility, kidney failure, liver damage, squamous cell carcinoma, etc. There are many forms of schistosomiasis based on the species causing the disease: schistosomiasis japonicum, schistosomiasis haematobium, schistosomiasis intercalatum, schistosomiasis mansoni, and schistosomiasis mekongi.
Schsitosomiasis japonicum is a schistosomiasis caused particularly by Schistosoma japonicum. It affects the bowel, the liver, and the spleen of its definitive host (e.g. mammals, birds, and humans). The species makes use of freshwater snails as an intermediate host. It leaves its snail host and enters its definitive host by penetrating the exposed skin. Upon entering the host the worm transforms by shedding the tail and then moves into the bloodstream to reach the intestinal veins where it fully matures. S. japonicum can grow to about 15 mm. Its skin is coated with tiny spines, ridges, and sensory organs that may be associated with how the species resist the host's immune system.1
- Oriental schistosomiasis
1 Green, S. 2001. "Schistosoma japonicum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Schistosoma_japonicum/.