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The fiery serpent as it is commonly called throughout the world has been around for centuries Its even been found in 3000-year-old Egyptian mummies httpwwwcdcgovncidodeidvol4no3hopkinshtm Have you ever heard of the Guinea Worm Disease or wondered what it is Dracunculus Medinensis or Guinea Worm is an atrocious disease that affects countries primarily in Africa and Asia Many countries are now instigating efforts to eradicate the gruesome excruciating horrors of the Guinea Worm Parasite What is a Guinea Worm D-Medinensis more commonly known as Guinea Worm is An infection of the subcutaneous and deeper tissues by a large nematode Abram S Benenson 122 The Water Fleas that are involved in the life cycle of Guinea Worm are also referred to as Cyclops In the water the larvae are swallowed by small copepods water fleas The worms mature inside the water flea and become infective in about 10 days Once the worms have matured inside the water flea any person who swallows contaminated water becomes infected Once inside the body the stomach acid digests the water flea but not the Guinea worm During the next year the Guinea worm grows to full size adult Adult worms are up to 3 feet long and are as wide as a spaghetti noodle httpwwwcdcgovncidoddpdparasitesguineawormfactshtguineawormhtm The juvenile worms migrate through the intestinal tract into the abdomen and then on through other tissues of the body At this point the females are fertilized by the males and the males die The females then migrate to the skin reach sexual maturity and produce juveniles httpwwwbiosciohio-stateeduparasitedracunculushtml After about a year the female worms migrate to the surface of the body When the worm comes near the surface a blister forms on the skin where the worm will emerge For relief persons will immerse the affected skin into water The temperature change causes the blister to erupt exposing the worm When someone with a Guinea worm ulcer enters the water the adult female
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