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December 14, 1984

Prevention of Schistosomiasis

JAMA. 1984;252(22):3129. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350220037018

To the Editor.—  Istre et al1 describe in JAMA a small outbreak of acute schistosomiasis among a group of adventurers rafting in Ethiopia. Being one of the "adventurers" (I like that expression!) and experienced in tropical medicine, I have a few comments.As the authors say, we were aware that the Omo and Mui rivers were infected with schistosomiasis. We therefore planned a "schistosoma checkup" three months after returning from the trip to reveal even very light infections. This time the symptoms appeared very quickly, however.The problem with white water rafting is that you get all wet every time you pass a rapid (which we did every 15 to 20 minutes) and partially wet every time you land the raft and carry it ashore. Under these conditions, normal precautions such as brisk towel drying are not realistic. It might be better to use an oily body lotion frequently