Guinea Worm (Dracuncullasis)
Travel Health

From: Travel Health Information and Advice


Guinea Worm (Dracunculiasis)
Guinea worm is an incredibly painful parasitic infection that is caused by drinking water fleas that contain Dracunculus larvae.

Symptoms of Guinea Worm
It is when the worm travel down towards the lower leg area that intense localized pain occurs, before emerging out onto the surface of the skin a painful blister will appear which bursts within a few days and reveals the worm. Other symptoms can include:

Areas Infected by Guinea Worm
Africa

Cause of Guinea Worm
Infection is caused by drinking contaminated water containing water fleas which contain the Dracunculus larvae. The infection process takes a year from when the larvae are swallowed to the female worm emerging out of the skin.

Once swallowed the water fleas die releasing the dracunculus larvae, which in turn mature and reproduce within the intestines. Once mature the females travel down to the lower legs where they emerge on the surface of the skin forming a blister, which after a few days bursts allowing the worm to emerge and release new larvae into the water.

Preventing Guinea Worm
There are a number of simple measures that can be taken to reduce a Guinea Worm infection.

Treatment for Guinea Worm
The treatment involves the slow process of removing the worm once it begins to emerge, this process can take anything from a few weeks to a few months depending on the size of the worm which can reach 2 to 3 feet in length. The worm is essentially wrapped around a stick and gradually removed over time. The use of pain killers and antibiotics are often used to ease the painful process.


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