Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Biology

 

Causal Agent:

Dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease) is caused by the nematode (roundworm) Dracunculus medinensis.

Life Cycle:

Humans become infected by drinking unfiltered water containing copepods (small crustaceans) which are infected with larvae of D. medinensis . Following ingestion, the copepods die and release the larvae, which penetrate the host stomach and intestinal wall and enter the abdominal cavity and retroperitoneal space . After maturation into adults and copulation, the male worms die and the females (length: 70 to 120 cm) migrate in the subcutaneous tissues towards the skin surface . Approximately one year after infection, the female worm induces a blister on the skin, generally on the distal lower extremity, which ruptures. When this lesion comes into contact with water, a contact that the patient seeks to relieve the local discomfort, the female worm emerges and releases larvae . The larvae are ingested by a copepod and after two weeks (and two molts) have developed into infective larvae . Ingestion of the copepods closes the cycle .

TOP