Water

What is Dracuncullasis?

Dracunculiasis

is a waterborne infection which is primarily caused by

Dracunculus medinensis

, a long and thin nematode parasite. The main reason behind the waterborne infection is drinking contaminated water which contains water fleas. These water fleas are from the Cyclops species. These water fleas act as the primary host of the Dracunculus larvae. Drugs are not available to treat this disease. Although, the infection can be prevented by avoiding water contamination and filtering drinking water before consumption. Read on to know more about the waterborne infection, Dracunculiasis.

An Overview of Dracunculiasis

This waterborne infection is also known as

guinea worm disease (GWD)

. The parasite is a roundworm. This infection starts spreading when an individual drinks contaminated water containing the water fleas. This water fleas harbor the larvae of the parasitic nematode or roundworm. This disease manifests into a burning, painful sensation nearly after a year of infection. The nematode forms blisters, especially on lower limb.

In the earlier times, the infection was prevalent in 20 countries of Africa and Asia. But the situation has changed now. Now, the disease is contained in four countries of Africa. This pathogenic parasite is documented in detail. In the ancient times, the behavior of this parasite was observed by the Greek chroniclers in the 2 century BC. The name is a Latin derivation which means “affliction with little dragons”. The alternative name, Guinea worm was coined when the Europeans discovered the disease in 17th century on the Guinea coast, West Africa.

According to the

Carter Center

, Dracunculiasis will become the first disease caused by a parasite to be completely eradicated. Also, it will become the first disease which will be eradicated through a change in the behavior, without using any vaccines. No cure is needed to treat the waterborne infection. There is no environmental or human reservoir for the parasite to survive. Hence, only humans can spread the parasite and act as their final hosts.

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