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It is a crippling parasitic disease caused by Dracunculus medinensis, a long, thread-like worm. It is transmitted exclusively when people drink stagnant water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas. During this time, it may be difficult to walk or work.It is very uncommon for the disease to cause death. Contaminated drinking water may be treated with a chemical called temefos to kill the larva. The worm may be slowly removed over a few weeks by rolling it over a stick. The ulcers formed by the emerging worm may get infected by bacteria. Pain may continue for months after the worm has been removed.
Symptoms: It may include fever,nausea and vomiting. Female worms cause allergic reactions during blister formation as they migrate to the skin, causing an intense burning pain. Such allergic reactions produce rashes, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and localized edema. When the blister bursts, allergic reactions subside, but skin ulcers form, through which the worm can protrude.
Diagnosis: The dracunculiasis infection can be easily diagnosed if the adult worm is present at the blister site. However sometimes the worm is unable to get out through the skin blister and dies and get calcified eventually. An X-ray examination of the limbs may reveal calcified parts of worm.
Treament: The treatment includes manual removal of roundworm from the skin lesion. This is done by rolling the worm over a stick and requires several days. The roundworm can also be removed surgically if manual procedure is not is not fruitful. No anti parasitic medications are available for this roundworm infection. However analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed to the affected individual in presence of extensive blistering lesion of skin.antibiotics may be given.
Epidemology: In 2012, the disease was confined to 4 countries: Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and South Sudan. By the end of 2012, a total of 542 cases were reported. A reduction of 49% as compared to the 1058 cases reported in 2011, and more than 99% reduction from the cases reported in 1989. The number of villages which reported cases reduced from 483 in 2011 to 272 in 2012; a 44% reduction. The number of endemic villages declined from 142 in 2011 to 101 in 2012, a 29% reduction.