Female Genital Schistosomiasis: A Neglected Tropical Disease
Female genital schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease. Few clinicians consider it in
their differential diagnosis.
Yet this disease affects hundreds of millions of people.
Hundreds of thousands of them actually die annually.
It significantly affects the reproductive health of women. Patients infected in childhood may
carry the burden of disease throughout their lives without being detected.
Global attention is occupied by new emerging diseases like Zika virus
and female genital schistosomiasis is relegated to back of pages in the list of global worries.
Female genital schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting millions of people.
It causes significant morbidity and mortality in women.
The eggs of the flukes spread haematogenously, embolising to the liver, spleen lungs
and brain. In the genitourinary system in the early stages it primarily involves the bladder and
ureters but later the kidneys and genital organs are involved.
It rarely infects the colon or the lungs. The ova lodged in the tissues causes
a tissue reaction in the genital mucosa This article describes the effects
of the schistosoma on the female genitourinary system.
Tissue reaction to ova in mucosal lining assists in HIV infection.
In a study in Zimbabwe women with genital schistosomiasis had
an almost three-fold risk of having HIV infection.
At times routine Pap smear tests can reveal genital schistosomiasis
Polymerase chain reaction23 on vaginal lavage samples or urine was
found to be a better was to diagnose female urogenital schistosomiasis
compared to cytology
Gynecol Obstet Res Open J. 2016; 3(2): 32-35. doi: 10.17140/GOROJ-3-134