Blood Worms in Humans


According to the World Health Organization, schistosomes, or blood worms, kill as many as a million people annually. Because these flukes are endemic to tropical areas, people living in more temperate climates are unaware of the danger these parasites pose.

Primary Host

  • The schistosoma reproduces in the human body. Production of 200 to 2,000 eggs per day damages blood vessels


  • Blood vessels break and eggs are discharged into the intestine or urinary track. Infected feces or urine, not properly treated, ends up in water sources.

Intermediate Host

  • The egg produces the larval form of the parasite. It seeks freshwater snails as an intermediate host and divides into thousands, which are expelled into the water.


  • Humans swimming or working in infected water contact a schistosoma, which bores into an artery and travels to the intestine or bladder to reside.

Symptoms and Treatment

  • Early symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea. If you suspect exposure and manifest these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

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