Dracunculiasis is caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis, commonly known as the guinea worm, which is the largest of the tissue parasites affecting humans. The disease is only contracted by drinking water sources contaminated with the infected intermediate hosts of the parasite, called cyclops.
Occurrence: active foci of the disease are now found only in Africa south of the Sahara and in Yemen.
Manifestations: After a prepatent period of about 12 months, during which the larvae develops into adults worms. The worm measures 70 cm to 120 cm. The full-grown worm begins to migrate throughout the infected person's body within about one year after ingestion. The worm eventually emerges (from the feet in 90% of cases), causing an intensely painful oedema, a blister and then an ulcer. Perforation of the skin is accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting. Infected persons frequently remain sick for several months.
Diagnose and treatment: There are no drugs to treat the disease. The treatment, which is generally unsatisfactory, consists of manually extracting the worm by winding it onto a stick with slight traction. Local care should be used to prevent bacterial superinfektion. Tetanus precautions are recommended
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