Among human parasitic diseases, schistosomiasis (sometimes called bilharziasis) ranks second behind malaria in terms of socio-economic and public health importance in tropical and subtropical areas. The disease is endemic in 74 developing countries, infecting more than 200 million people in rural agricultural and peri-urban areas. Of these, 20 million suffer severe consequences from the disease and 120 million are symptomatic. In many areas, schistosomiasis infects a large proportion of under-14 children. An estimated 500-600 million people worldwide are at risk from the disease (map).