Guinea Worm Disease also known as Dracunculiasis is an infection one can get from the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. The larvae of this insect enter the body through consumption of contaminated water. It takes about a year of drinking of dirty water that female guinea worms reaches full growth up to 3 feet inside the body. It leaves the body through a blister usually on the foot or leg.
To this day, there is still no cure or vaccine to prevent this disease. The only way to remove the worm is through gentle pulling or surgery. Naturally, this infection can be avoided through drinking clean water.
Since 2011, there are only four countries namely, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Chad which has reported cases of the disease. All of them are in poorer communities in Africa.
Reports came in of a 38-year-old African refugee who came to Australia with the disease. He developed a huge boil on his foot which he got checked at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
According to a case report in the journal Pathology, the man discovered through his x-ray that two noodle-like worms were living in his ankle and foot.
The man was suffering from a swollen foot for over a year already. Dr. Jonathan Darby, an infectious diseases physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital believes that the man drank contaminated water which contained the worm’s larva.
“That whole process can take years. It can sit inside the human body alive for years or die, degenerate, and then cause problems in the area like it did for our patient,” the doctor said to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The removal of the Guinea Worm is painful and it can take from hours to days. A person suffering from the disease will experience fever, inflammation, and pain in the affected body part.
“If you google it, you’ll find some fairly dramatic photos of people getting matchsticks and twirling their worm out centimeter per day,” Dr. Darby stated.
Watch the video below for more information on this disease.
What can you say about this disease? Have you heard of guinea worms before? What ways can you suggest to prevent this infection? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
source: MedicineNet|Medical Daily