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S Afr Med J. 1994 Nov;84(11):756-8.

The risk of schistosomiasis in Zimbabwean triathletes.

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Department of Physiology, University of Cape Town.


A study was carried out to determine the risk of schistosomiasis in triathletes in Zimbabwe. The prevalence of schistosomiasis in 30 triathletes (24 males, 6 females) was compared with that in 24 non-triathlete controls after the 1989/90 triathlon season. All the subjects found to be infected were then treated with praziquantel (40 mg/kg). The seasonal incidence of schistosomiasis in triathletes was then determined in a prospective study during the 1990/91 season. Schistosomiasis was diagnosed by urine and stool microscopy for ova, blood eosinophil counts and serological bilharzial fluorescent antibody tests for IgM and IgG antibodies. There was a significantly (P < 0.05) higher prevalence of schistosomiasis among the triathletes (80%) than among the controls (38%). The seasonal incidence of schistosomiasis was 64%. Exposure of triathletes to fresh-water dam swimming in Zimbabwe poses a significant risk for the development of schistosomiasis.

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