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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: August 2009

12 - Genetics of human susceptibility to infection and hepatic disease caused by schistosomes

    • By Alain J. Dessein, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Sandrine Marquet, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Carole Eboumbou Moukoko, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Hèlia Dessein, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Laurent Argiro, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Sandrine Henri, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Dominique Hillaire, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Christophe Chevillard, Immunologie et Génétique des Maladies Parasitaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France, Nasureldin El Wali, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Biology, University of Gezira, Wad Medani, Sudan, Mubarak Magzoub, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Biology, University of Gezira, Wad Medani, Sudan, Laurent Abel, Génétique Humaine des Maladies Infectieuses, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Faculté de Médecine Necker, Paris, Virmondes Rodrigues, Faculty of Medicine do Triangulo Mineiro, Ubéraba, Brazil, Aluizio Prata, Faculty of Medicine do Triangulo Mineiro, Ubéraba, Brazil, Gachuhi Kimani, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Biomedical Sciences Research Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Edited by Richard Bellamy, Kintampo Health Research Centre, Ghana
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546235.012
  • pp 337-360

Summary

Schistosome infections cause much suffering in millions of people living in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and South America (Prata, 1987; Chitsulo et al., 2000). The most severe clinical symptoms affect the kidneys and urinary tract. However, schistosomes also cause various other disorders such as heart failure and neurological diseases. Three species of schistosome are responsible for most human infections (Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma japonicum, and Schistosoma haematobium). These species are found in different geographical locations, have different vectors, and cause different symptoms. Schistosomes are multicellular parasites that are disseminated as free swimming larvae (cercariae) in ponds, lakes, and rivers by snails. Humans become infected when they stay in contaminated water for a few minutes. The cercariae penetrate the human skin and develop into male or female adult schistosomes within 5 or 6 weeks. These small worms (Fig. 12.1A) can live in the vascular system of their vertebrate host for 2 to 5 years. Schistosomes do not multiply within their vertebrate host. The female worms, however, lay hundreds of eggs per day in the mesenteric or vesical veins of their host. Most of the symptoms associated with these infections are caused by the inflammation that is induced by the immunogenic and toxic substances produced by the eggs. The chronic cellular reaction that develops around the eggs is organised in a granuloma (Von Lichtenberg, 1962; Warren et al., 1967).

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