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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Recreational water

Urogenital schistosomiasis

Updated on 18/08/2016

Keywords : Recreational water, Schistosomiasis, Bilharzia

Urogenital schistosomiasis (bilharziasis) is a parasitic disease due to trematode flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. It can be transmitted to humans through simple skin contact with water in bodies of water or waterways (streams, rivers, lakes or ponds) in which freshwater gastropod snails of the genus Bulinus live. When infested, these snails disperse larvae into the water. Following reports of clustered cases of indigenous schistosomiasis in southern Corsica due to Schistosoma haematobium, ANSES has been asked to assess the risk of human contamination by this parasite in continental France so that it can rapidly take action to control any possible risks. To do so, the Agency has conducted an expert assessment of the ecology of the Bulinus snail, and its expert assessment work has led it to recommend acquiring further knowledge on these molluscs in order to provide a comprehensive review of their presence in bodies of water and waterways conducive to their development. This knowledge is essential for establishing a profile of the different water sites likely to provide conditions that could promote S. haematobium transmission. In the meantime, measures should be implemented to prevent water contamination and/or avoid exposure. 

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