Dracunculiasis or guinea worm disease
| Anaemia |
Ring Worm or Tinea
Dracunculasis or guinea worm disease is a preventable infection caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis.
Adult female Dracunculus worms emerge from the skin of infected persons annually. Persons with worms protruding through the skin may enter sources of drinking water and unwittingly allow the worm to release larvae into the water. These larvae are ingested by fresh water copepods where these develop into the infective stage in 10-14 days. Persons become infected by drinking water containing the water fleas harbouring the infective stage larvae of Dracunculus medinensis.
Infected people do not usually have symptoms until about 1 year after they become infected. It begins with a blister, usually on the leg. Around the time of its eruption, the person may experience itching, fever, swelling and burning sensations. Infected people try to relieve the pain by immersing the infected part in water, usually open water sources such as ponds and shallows wells. This allows the worm to spread.
At the beginning of the 20th century guinea worm disease was widespread in many countries in Africa and Asia. It is estimated that there were about 50 million cases in the 1950s. Due to concentrated efforts by international communities and endemic countries, the number of cases was reduced to about 96,000 by 1999.
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