Dracunculiasis or the guinea worm disease is almost eradicated from the planet earth. This disease which has been affecting people since ancient times could be exterminated in a couple of years from now. This was announced by the World Health Organization.
Currently around 25,000 people in nine countries across the world are being infected by this disease as against 3 million people in twenty countries in the early 1980s.
People who are affected by this disease have leg ulcers which could be as big as a tennis ball. When these ulcers burst out, it spews out parasitic worms which can be 0.8 meters long. During this stage, the patients experience severe pain as though their leg is on fire. To bring temporary relief to the pain, they put their leg in water resulting in the release of thousand of larvae contaminating the water.
This disease was found in ancient Egyptian mummies and was called fiery serpent. According to WHO director of Neglected Tropical Diseases Mr. Lorenzo Savioli, hard work of local and international groups in eliminating this disease has paid rich dividends now. Twelve countries were declared Guinea worm-free in early March. Currently the disease is still endemic in certain villages in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some of the low cost methods to prevent people from being infected are providing safe drinking water supplies, filtering drinking water using fine-mesh cloth, and preventing infected people from wading into water sources to relieve the pain. It is also possible to gradually pull out the worm, and clean the ulcer to prevent bacterial infection.