Dracunculus medinensis is a parasitic infection that can be prevented but still endemic in few
countries today. Most individuals are not even aware that they are infected
until when the symptoms develop. Contaminated drinking water, endemicity for
the disease, and previous history of infection are the major risk factors for
transmission of this disease. The Guinea worm’s life-cycle begins in
contaminated water and ends within the human body. A host is necessary for the
survival of this parasite. Symptoms do not develop until after about one year
later. The overall infection process is very painful with a low mortality rate.
The duration for treatment may take anywhere from hours, days, or weeks.
Management of this parasitic infection is critical and can only be done after
the worm has been completely removed. The incidence of the disease has
decreased significantly since the 1980s. However, the complete eradication of
Dracunculiasis has proven to be a very difficult process. Fortunately, there
has been tremendous progress in the steps toward global eradication of the
disease. There are several measures, such as surveillance, vector control,
health education, provision of portable drinking water and community
sensitization and mobilization which are currently being implemented by several
governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to contain and
hopefully eradicate the disease.
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