Author(s): N. N. Murali
Guinea worm infection is one of the most easily preventable parasitic disease, but it is nevertheless a common cause of disability in rural areas of Africa, south-west Asia, and India. Infection occurs when drinking water is infested with infected cyclops, a microcrustacean. Worms up to 70-80 cm in length develop in the subcutaneous tissues of the feet or legs and larvae are liberated to renew the cycle when an infected individual, steps into a well or pond from which others draw drinking water. Infection is markedly seasonal due to the influence of the climate on the types of water source and the developmental cycle of the parasite. Chemical treatment of water bodies with temephos is an effective and safe way of controlling transmission. Treatment consists of taking out of each emerging worm and giving certain drugs which reduce the pain and pruritis. It is important to take out the whole worm intact without breaking the worm.