Latest Travel Bug: Rusty semen!

Thursday, 27 November, 2014
Usisya Lodge, Lake Malawi by Ben Speare

Schistosomiasis is the topic of my latest Travel Bug column in Medical Observer. Disease due to the most common species of this fascinating trematode, Schistosoma haematobium, can occassionally present with haemospermia (blood stained semen). This curious presentation was first revealed to the world in a self-infection by Clyde Barlow, a US parasitologist. In 1944 Dr Barlow infected himself in Cairo with more than 100 cercaria of S haematobium and suffered a litany of distressing problems, including haemospermia. At the peak of his infection he was excreting over 4000 eggs in an ejaculate (Barlow and Meleny 1949). What is it with us parasitologists!

The column highlights Lake Malawi as the major source of schistosomiasis for Australian travelers. Treatment (praziquantel) and prophylaxis (artemether) are discussed

Barlow CH, Meleney HE. A voluntary infection with Schistosoma haematobium. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 1949;29(1):79-87.
Speare R. There's something in the water. Travel Bug, Medical Observer, 18 November 2014.

Lake Malawi from Usisya Lodge. Image by Ben Speare (

Posted 27 November 2014