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Schistosomiasis in Indonesia

In Indonesia, Schistosomiasis risk is limited to the province of Central Sulawesi, in the Lindu and Napu valleys.

Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is a disease caused by parasitic worms that live in freshwater lakes, rivers and rice paddies. It can penetrate the skin of persons who are wading, swimming, bathing or washing in contaminated water. There is no vaccine.

To prevent infection:

  • Avoid swimming or wading in fresh water in countries where schistosomiasis occurs.
  • Using soap during bathing reduces the risk of infection, as does a vigorous rubdown with a towel immediately after contact with contaminated water. Do not rely on these methods to prevent schistosomiasis.
  • Heat bath water for five minutes at 50°C (122°F).
  • Water held in a storage tank for at least 48 hours should be safe

Additional info on Schistosomiasis from the US Center for Disease Control

If you have medical-related questions about living in Indonesia to ask of medical professionals, see Ask the Experts.

We trust this information will assist you in making correct choices regarding your health and welfare. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for personalized advice from your medical adviser.

Our appreciation to the Coordinating Doctors of International SOS, an AEA Company who have contributed this article in response to a health threat faced by expatriates in Indonesia.