Sudan’s Fight Against the Guinea Worm

The Guinea worm has the potential to become the second completely eradicated disease in human history — but the political stability of one African nation will play a crucial role.

Of the 9 million people living in the southern region of Sudan, more than 2,500 have Guinea worm, according to a report by CNN. With only 500 additional cases scattered around the globe, health officials believe that eliminating the disease in Sudan would be a big step in eradicating this parasite that has infected humans since ancient Egyptian times.

The Guinea worm — which can reach up to three feet in length, similar in appearance to an over-sized spaghetti noodle — enters the human host through larvae-infested drinking water. Once inside the host, the larvae become worms that penetrate the intestinal wall and travel within the body via connective tissues. The worms emerge from the body through fiery blisters on the legs, feet, arms, hands, head, chest, and eyes. To ease the burning sensation of these blisters, infected persons immerse themselves into bodies of water. The worms then lay their eggs in the water, and the eggs mature into larvae, which are swallowed by another human host, starting the cycle again… Read complete article at Circle of Blue.

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