Bilharziasis in the African Infant and Child in the Mtoko District, Southern Rhodesia
Smith, F. Morley
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This study was undertaken with several objects in view.. First of all we wanted to know how frequently bilharziasis is likely to infest infants up to the age of two years in an endemic area. On first thoughts it would seem reasonable for the disease to be rarely encountered at this stage of life, since the African babe is seldom exposed directly to the streams or the water’s edge for fear that it might be drowned or injured by crocodiles. On the other hand, it must be admitted that the infant is often washed in water carried from the river in buckets or gourds, and unless the water is kept standing for 24 hours or boiled soon after collection, many of these children can be expected to acquire the disease. Then there is the possibility that the African infant born of a mother, herself probably infected for many years, may have a passive immunity conferred on it by her and is therefore more able to resist infection by the cercariae at this age than when it is older.