Distribution and Extent of Schistosomiasis in Female Pelvic Organs, with Special Reference to the Genital Tract, as Determined at Autopsy

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  • Department of Medicine, University of Rhodesia, Harari Central Hospital, and Blair Research Laboratory, Salisbury, Rhodesia

The pelvic organs were removed at 64 consecutive autopsies of African women and examined for the presence of schistosome eggs and for tissue response to eggs. Portions of tissue from the bladder, rectum, uterus, cervix uteri, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, parametrium, and vagina were weighed and digested with potassium hydroxide. Eggs in films of tissue residue thus obtained were counted and results expressed in eggs per gram of tissue. Tissue from the same piece used for digestion was processed for histological examination and examined for schistosome eggs and inflammatory reaction to them. Schistosome eggs were found in tissues from 37 of the 64 autopsies, 33 by digestion technique and 24 by the histological method. Inflammatory reaction was seen about eggs in 12 of the 24 infections identified histologically. Eggs were found most often in the vaginal wall and cervix, less often in the ovaries and Fallopian tubes, least often elsewhere in the genital tract. The genital organs were less often infected than the bladder. Eggs of Schistosoma haematobium were found in all infections discovered by digestion of tissues, being associated with eggs of Schistosoma mansoni in 9 instances, and in 19 of 24 instances discovered histologically.

Author Notes

Harari General Hospital, Salisbury, Rhodesia.

Blair Research Laboratory, Salisbury, Rhodesia.