Water

Dracunculiasis – Prevention and Treatment

Dracunculiasis

is a parasitic infection which is also known as

guinea worm disease (GWD)

. This infection is primarily caused by the parasitic nematode, Dracunculus medinensis. The disease is mainly caused by drinking contaminated water which is stagnant and contains water fleas. These water fleas are the host of the nematodes. Read on to know more about

prevention and treatment of Dracunculiasis

.

Prevention of Dracunculiasis

Dracunculiasis or guinea worm disease is mainly spread by drinking stagnant water. The waterborne infection can be effectively prevented by simple measures. These simple measures may completely eradicate the infection. These include:

  • Drinking water from underground water sources which are free from any contamination. These underground water sources include wells and boreholes.
  • Filtering the drinking water with a fine and thin mesh cloth filter such as nylon. This cloth filter effectively removes the pathogenic nematode parasites.
  • Preventing people, who are infected with the guinea worms, from entering wells and ponds which are used for drinking purposes.
  • Cleaning and treating the dysfunctional sources of drinking water. These water sources can be treated with chemicals like larvicides, which eliminates the pathogenic parasites.

Treatment of Dracunculiasis

Till now, there is no specific medicine or vaccine to treat the waterborne disease, Dracunculiasis. As the parasitic worm starts to emerge from the subcutaneous tissues of the infected person, the worm should be carefully extracted from the body. This is a very painful and long process which may last for weeks or even months. This extraction process may cause an intense burning sensation in the afflicted area. Although, if the infection is diagnosed before ulcer formation, the parasite can be surgically extracted by a doctor.

The waterborne disease is generally not fatal, but the wound from where the nematode comes out could lead to complications. These complications may develop into a secondary bacterial infection like tetanus. This condition may be fatal. To reduce the pain and swelling, Analgesics can be administrated. Also, antibiotic ointments may prevent these secondary infections at the site of the wound.

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