Parasites - Dracunculiasis (also known as Guinea Worm Disease)

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Guinea worm disease, a neglected tropical disease (NTD), is caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. The disease affects poor communities in remote parts of Africa that do not have safe water to drink. There is neither a drug treatment for Guinea worm disease nor a vaccine to prevent it. Great progress has been made towards elimination of Guinea worm disease; the number of human cases annually has fallen from 3.5 million in the mid-1980s to 28 in 2018.

Images: Left: Woman gathering water in a pond. Guinea worm disease is transmitted by drinking unfiltered water from ponds and other stagnant surface water sources. Center: A health worker providing education to children about how to avoid getting Guinea worm disease. Right: A young man using a pipe filter to drink from a pond. Pipe filters help remove the water fleas that carry Dracunculus medinensis. (Credit: CDC PHIL, The Carter Centerexternal icon)

Page last reviewed: May 6, 2020