Disease, guinea worm
A parasitic disease caused by infection with the guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis), the largest parasite known to plague people. Guinea worm disease is also called Dracunculiasis and end-of-the-road disease because it is not seen in the big cities. Once it infects a person, the guinea worm migrates through their body. It eventually emerges from the body (through the feet in 90% of cases) causing intensely painful edema (swelling), a blister and then an ulcer. Perforation of the skin by the guinea worm, which can be 6 feet long, is accompanied by fever and nausea and vomiting. Infected persons may remain sick for some months. The disease is gotten by drinking water contaminated with the infected intermediate hosts of the parasite, called cyclops. The full-grown guinea worm begins to migrate throughout the infected person's body within about a year after ingestion. In areas where the disease is endemic (pervasive), it typically reappears every year during the agricultural season, with farmers in particular being affected. There are no drugs to treat the disease. Prevention of the disease is based on effective surveillance systems; the provision of safe water including appropriate water supply systems, filtering devices and the chemical treatment of water to eliminate the vector; and health education. Guinea worm infection is the only parasitic disease that may, it is hoped, be eradicated from the globe in the near future. Although widely distributed at the beginning of the 20th century, it is now confined to sub-Saharan Africa. The countries known to harbor the guinea worm are Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo and Uganda. Two-thirds of the world's estimated 100,000 annual cases of Guinea worm disease occur in war-torn Sudan, where peace is needed before aid workers can reach affected areas, mainly in the south. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $28.5 million in 2000 to help eradicate Guinea worm disease by teaching people to boil water or strain it through cloth filters. The effort to finish off this disease is a project of WHO, World Bank and Jimmy Carter's Foundation.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • guinea worm — n a slender tropical nematode worm of the genus Dracunculus (D. medinensis) that is a human parasite with no known animal reservoir, has an adult female that may attain a length of several feet, and is characterized by a life cycle which includes …   Medical dictionary

  • Guinea worm disease — A parasitic disease caused by infection with the guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis), the largest parasite known to plague people. Guinea worm disease is also called Dracunculiasis and end of the road disease because it is not seen in the big… …   Medical dictionary

  • guinea worm — a long, slender, roundworm, Dracunculus medinensis, parasitic under the skin of humans and animals, common in parts of India and Africa. Also, Guinea worm. [1690 1700] * * * or medina worm or dragon worm Nematode (Dracunculus medinensis) that is… …   Universalium

  • Guinea worm — noun 1. a painful and debilitating infestation contracted by drinking stagnant water contaminated with Guinea worm larvae that can mature inside a human s abdomen until the worm emerges through a painful blister in the person s skin • Syn:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Guinea worm disease — noun a painful and debilitating infestation contracted by drinking stagnant water contaminated with Guinea worm larvae that can mature inside a human s abdomen until the worm emerges through a painful blister in the person s skin • Syn: ↑Guinea… …   Useful english dictionary

  • guinea worm — a nematode worm, Dracunculus medinensis, that is a parasite of humans. The white threadlike adult female, 60–120 cm long, lives in the connective tissues beneath the skin. It releases its larvae into a large blister on the legs or arms; when the… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • guinea worm disease — noun Date: 1980 dracunculiasis …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Guinea — Guinean, adj., n. /gin ee/, n. 1. a coastal region in W Africa, extending from the Gambia River to the Gabon estuary. 2. Formerly, French Guinea. an independent republic in W Africa, on the Atlantic coast. 7,405,375; ab. 96,900 sq. mi. (251,000… …   Universalium

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