Show Summary Details
Page of

Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis) 

Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis)
Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis)

Richard Knight

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 February 2021

Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis)—now limited to sub-Saharan Africa—is caused by the nematode Dracunculus medinensis, whose life cycle involves aquatic copepod crustaceans. Humans are infected when they drink water containing infective larvae. Adult worms enter subcutaneous tissue and can reach a metre in length. Clinical presentation is usually with a skin blister, most often on the leg, sometimes preceded by allergic prodromal symptoms. Bacterial infection and local scarring with disability are common complications. 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. The disease is now nearing eradication.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.