Guinea Worms Disease, Drucanculiasis,
affects the poor communities in Africa. Guinea Worms infected an
estimated 3.5 million people in 1986, and in 1998 the number of
Guinea Worms infections decreased to approximately 78,000 people.
Organizations like: The Global 2000 program, UNICEF, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization
(WHO) are working hard to eliminate Drucanculiasis.
Drucanculiasis originates from contaminated drinking water. Copepods
or water fleas ingest the Guinea Worm eggs, then after 10 days the
Guinea Worm matures inside the copepod. When a person drinks the
contaminated water the stomach acid digests the copepod but not
the Guinea Worm. It takes a full year for Guinea Worms to mature
into an adult roundworm, and subsequently a full year to see symptoms
of Guinea Worms Disease. The adult Guinea Worms can grow up to 3
feet long and will migrate to the skins surface where a blister
or Guinea Worm ulcer will form. It is very painful when the blister
bursts, causing a burning sensation, which makes the person want
to rinse their skin under water. The Guinea Worm will then leave
the open wound into the water and begin releasing millions of Guinea
Worm eggs for several days, thus continuing the cycle.
Just before the worm comes to the skins surface symptoms of fever,
swelling, and pain in the area may occur. More than 90% of the Guinea
Worms surface in a persons legs or feet. It can take the blisters
8 weeks to heal, and the wound can become additionally infected
with bacteria. Drucanculiasis can leave a person disabled for the
entire 8 weeks.
According to the CDC, there is no medication available to end or
prevent Guinea Worm infection. The worm can be surgically removed before Guinea
Worms ulcers forms. "Analgesics, such as aspirin or ibuprofen,
can help reduce swelling; antibiotic ointment can help prevent bacterial