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Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis) 

Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis)

Chapter:
Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis)
Author(s):

Richard Knight

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.070903_update_001

Update:

Eradication programme—further progress reported, but new cases occurred in Chad in 2010, a country previously free from infection since 2000.

Updated on 31 May 2012. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 27 March 2017

Guinea-worm disease (dracunculiasis)—now limited to sub-Saharan Africa—is caused by the nematode Dracunculus medinensis, whose life cycle involves water-borne copepod crustaceans and humans, who acquire the infection when they drink water containing infective larvae. Clinical presentation is usually with a skin blister, most often on the leg, sometimes preceded by allergic prodromal symptoms. Bacterial infection is a common complication. Most patients in endemic areas recognize their condition, but irrigation of ulcers can reveal larvae. Treatment is by physical removal of the worm; anthelmintics have no role in management. Provision of safe water for drinking is the key to prevention.

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