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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Outbreak of Schistosomiasis in Myanmar

02 Aug 2018

Burmese health officials report via media that there have been more than 500 cases of schistosomiasis in Myanmar between March and mid-July 2018 2018.The areas most affected  are reported to be the states of Rakhine and Shan. The area around Inle Lake is of particular concern.

Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia) is a parasitic worm infection of the gastrointestinal or urogenital tract. Transmission occurs when human skin is exposed to fresh water containing infective forms of the parasite. Initial infection is usually symptomless but a self-limiting itchy rash may occur at the site of skin penetration.

Recommendations for Travellers

  • Check prior to travel if you are visiting regions where schistosomiasis occurs.
  • Swim only in chlorinated swimmingpools or safe sea water in affected areas.
  • Avoid activities in affected regions that may involve direct water contact, this includes paddling, swimming, diving, snorkeling, rafting, canoeing, water sports etc.
  • Visit your GP for screening tests on return to the UK if you are concerned you have been exposed. Early treatment stops the risk of long-term damage.

For further information see Schistosomiasis.