Will We Finally Be Able To Get Rid Of It For Good?
Guinea worms pass through muscles and bones as they make their way to deposit their larvae in the human skin on our feet. The worm can only be removed manually, piece by piece, by rolling it up on a small stick. A debilitating infection.
There is no vaccine or medication available to protect against it. However, it is possible that the pathogen is now on the verge of extinction. The infection known as "Draculus medinensis" requires humans to survive - as hosts.
In Nigeria, it is known as "poverty," and in Mali, it is known as the "disease of empty granaries." Infected people become so weak that they are unable to work and earn money. Although the infections are not fatal, they are excruciatingly painful.
They also pass through potable water that has not been filtered. Worm larvae parasitize small aquatic crayfish. While the crabs die, the parasite larvae have discovered a food source. They move from the stomach to the intestine and mate through mucous membrane penetration.
The male dies soon after, while the female migrates to the extremities, most notably the feet. It can reach a maximum length of one metre before depositing its larvae. The worms begin drilling their way through the affected person's skin about a year after infection, most commonly in the feet and legs.
And this pattern has been going on for weeks! When the skin is pierced, the host experiences excruciating pain, and affected individuals are forced to swim in cold lakes and rivers with their limbs. Finally, the female ejects hundreds of larvae, which are devoured by small crustaceans.
As a result, the water becomes contaminated again - this time with the larvae of the next generation. That was the exact location of the first phase of the truly massive extermination campaign. The general public is advised to use fine-mesh substance nets.
A plan was devised to successfully eradicate the parasite by 2015. However, the outcome was unexpected because the worm had been redirected to a different host: dogs. Probably because he had a harder time connecting with others.
Although the exact dog-human cycle is unknown, it is thought that dogs pick up parasites from fish waste and then pass them on to humans when the larvae are returned to the water. A fatal blow to eradication efforts! Fishermen in affected areas were also advised to properly dispose of their fish waste as a second critical step.
And these measures appear to be working: In the mid-1980s, 21 countries reported 3. 5 million new infections. This is due to a lack of sanitation and access to safe drinking water. Thirty cases were reported in 2017, half of which occurred in Ethiopia and the other half in Chad.
And the worm that has plagued humans for thousands of years: There have even been discovered mummies with traces of it! The Carter Center is primarily in charge of the eradication effort. In 1986, the Carter Center launched the Guinea worm initiative.
Former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife established the non-profit organization. The dramatic drop in infection rates is welcome news, as there is currently no way to help those who have been infected. "Because there is no vaccine or effective treatment for the parasite," says Carter Center consultant Donald Hopkins, "the campaign focuses on providing safe drinking water and changing people's behavior."
As previously stated, the worm can only be extracted manually from the body. Individuals usually do it on their own, without the help of a medical professional, and with the help of a small stick. Every day, a small piece of the worm - about two centimeteres in length - is rolled up. If approached hastily, it rips you off! It's quite frightening.