Schistosomiasis Japonica

A Report of Its Discovery in Apparently Healthy Individuals

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A stool and proctoscopic examination was carried out on one hundred and seventy-seven officers and enlisted men of a medical installation in the Western Pacific Theater. Thirty-four cases of Oriental schistosomiasis were found. There were eleven cases with Ascaris lumbricoides and five cases with trichuriasis infestation.

The diagnosis was made by finding the ova of Schistosoma japonicum. Immature and degenerative ova were also found in a number of cases. The ova were found in the stool specimens or on direct smear of the ulcers during proctoscopic examination. Twenty-three cases had proctoscopic findings indicative of schistosomiasis.

All of the 34 cases remained on full duty and had no serious disabling symptoms. One other member of the organization was hospitalized because of schistosomiasis prior to the survey and is not included in this group.

The excellent response of thirty-two cases to Fuadin is probably due to the mild pathological picture of the disease in this group, as Fuadin was not very successful in the treatment of the usual active case of Schistosomiasis japonica (7, 8).

The authors agree with Bercovitz's opinion that there is a large group of individuals with schistosomiasis who show few or no symptoms. It is suggested that further surveys of organizations known to have lived in endemic areas would bring to light many additional cases of silent schistosomiasis in a relatively early stage of mild infection, before a heavy invasion of the liver has occurred (3). The importance of prompt and intensive treatment to prevent irreversible liver damage cannot be exaggerated.