Will I get bilharzia/schistosomiasis from the Nile?

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The Nile has been known to carry bilharzia/schistosomiasis, and cases from the river have been recorded.

Bilharzia is most prevalent in still and stagnant water. We spend most of our time in the fast moving rapids or on sections of river that see a large amount of daily fluctuation and are therefore largely free from the parasite. To minimise the risks, we recommend not spending time wading on the river banks and not swimming in the stagnant waters of Lake Victoria.

Treatment is easily available over the counter here (in Jinja), and is a single course of tablets, though you must wait three months (the incubation period) before treating. If you are concerned about Bilharzia, we advise that you do a check-up three months after your trip with your doctor who should be able to test for it.

For more information on bilharzia/schistosomiasis please look at the following resource:

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