The end of guinea worm disease is within reach, proclaims the carter center. Dracunculiasis also known as guinea worm disease is a parasitic disease contracted by drinking water contaminated with the cyclop species of water fleas, that have ingested dracunculus larvae.
Inside the body the larvae migrate through the intestinal wall and into the body tissue where they grow into adult worms.
Beware Guinea Worm
The males die off, and the females move through the subcutaenous tissue and exit the skin, usually at the feet growing up to 3 feet long, and be as thick as a spaghetti noodle.
Does it sound painful? It is so painful infected people call it the fiery serpent.
There is no vaccine to treat or prevent the disease, only behavioral modification and of course available clean water or the use of a filter if none is available.
Once the worm begins to emerge through the skin, to extract it, someone begins to wrap it around a stick, a painful process that can take hours to months.
The disease is usually not fatal, but a secondary infection or tetanus that is life threatening can occur around the wound if not treated with antibiotic ointments.
At one time 20 nations in Asia and Africa were affected, but now the disease only affects humans in four countries in Africa with over 1,000 cases reported in the South Sudan Mali, Ethiopia and Chad for the year 2011.