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A tropical parasitic disease has invaded Europe, thanks to a hybrid of two infectious worms

“Infecting an estimated 230 million people, schistosomiasis is the world’s most widespread parasitic disease after malaria. But temperate latitudes were thought to be spared: Schistosome flatworms are common only in warm places in Africa, India, and South America. So parasitologist Jerome Boissier was surprised when, in a single week in 2014, physicians in France and Germany called him to report that two families who had never left Europe had developed the disease, which can cause fever, chills, muscle aches, and bloody urine. Epidemiologists later traced the cases to the Cavu River on Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea, where the patients had swum during a vacation. Scientists found that a local freshwater snail was serving as the intermediate host that’s essential to the flatworms’ complicated life cycle. The river is still infested: At least 120 people have become infected. And the disease is turning up elsewhere on Corsica.”

Source: A tropical parasitic disease has invaded Europe, thanks to a hybrid of two infectious worms | Science | AAAS

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