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Fluids & Electrolytes
Schistosomiasis ranks second, behind malaria, among human parasitic diseases in terms of public health and socioeconomic importance in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Worldwide, 1 of 30 people has schistosomiasis. Up to 300 million people are infected, and 600 million live in environments where infection is a risk. Tourists from non-endemic areas are contracting schistosomiasis due to the rise in "off-the-beaten-track" tourism.
Praziquantel is effective against all species of schistosomes and early treatment is curative. Schistosomiasis is an insidious disease, however, so worldwide the disease is not diagnosed early. The most frequent and dangerous complication of the disease is variceal hemorrhage due to hepatic fibrosis. Variceal hemorrhage is the first symptom in 58% of cases. A variety of treatments for variceal hemorrhage are available. Exsanguination from variceal hemorrhage is possible; therefore, aggressive stabilization of the patient by the use of multiple therapies is appropriate. Most patients treated after esophageal hemorrhages do not experience reversal of hepatic fibrosis. For this reason, healthcare providers need an increased awareness of schistosomiasis to enable earlier detection and treatment in world travelers.
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