Guinea Worm Disease (cont.)

What is the treatment for Guinea worm disease?

There is no drug to treat Guinea worm disease (GWD) and no vaccine to prevent infection. Once the worm emerges from the wound, it can only be pulled out a few centimeters each day and wrapped around a piece of gauze or small stick. Sometimes the worm can be pulled out completely within a few days, but this process usually takes weeks or months. Analgesics, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can help reduce swelling; antibiotic ointment can help prevent bacterial infections. The worm can also be surgically removed by a trained doctor in a medical facility before an ulcer forms.

Where is Guinea worm disease found?

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Dracunculiasis now occurs only in 4 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Transmission of the disease is most common in very remote rural villages and in areas visited by nomadic groups. In 2011, only four countries reported cases of GWD: Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, and South Sudan, with the majority of cases in South Sudan.

Asia is now free of the disease. Transmission of GWD no longer occurs in several African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda. No locally acquired cases of disease have been reported in these countries in the last year or more. The treatment of case importations from the remaining endemic countries requires that surveillance be maintained in formerly endemic areas until official certification. The World Health Organization has certified 180 countries free of transmission of Dracunculiasis, including six formerly endemic countries: Pakistan (in 1996), India (in 2000), Senegal and Yemen (in 2004), Central African Republic and Cameroon (in 2007).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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