Note received via email: An ex- Zimbabwean in Guernsey has discovered, over 20 years after leaving Africa, that he has bilharzia, and urges us all to think about having a test, especially if we have unexplained headaches or other health problems.
As he says,
“I had grossly abnormal liver function and loads of headaches over that time. By all accounts I am truly fortunate that it has not left permanent liver damage. Since it has been treated that has pretty well resolved. The treatment Biltricide or praziquantel makes you feel pretty rubbish for a day, but not as bad as it makes the worms feel!I have tried to broadcast on social media to raise awareness especially amongst the ex Zim population abroad and not sure if the message got out effectively. I am a GP here and my diagnosis was delayed despite asking the question of several colleagues – the point being that medical knowledge is very limited in the ‘developed’ world. This is despite the fact that Schistosomiasis is causing the second largest socioeconomic cost in Sub-Saharan Africa after malaria.”